Agenda item - Public Involvement
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To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: to receive any petitions presented to the full council or at the meeting itself;
(b) Written Questions: to receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 3 November 2020;
(i) Provision of Vegan Food at Schools
(c) Deputations: to receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 3 November 2020.
38.1 There were no petitions.
38(b) Written Questions
38.2 Ms Pearson-Klein asked the following question:
Carbon emissions come from animal farming (including egg and dairy farming). Today’s children need to move towards a more plant based diet to have a future on this planet, and we need to be encouraging them to do so. Therefore, I am asking the committee to ensure veganism is no longer side-lined as a ‘special diet’ in schools and that a vegan choice is available every lunchtime to all children in all schools, to enable them to make more responsible food choices.
38.3 The Chair gave the following response:
You’re absolutely right about the climate impact from animal products. It’s what encouraged me personally to switch to a vegetarian diet a few years ago. My partner is vegan and I know from eating with him the importance of widening the number of vegan options available – because it’s astounding how much I can eat as a vegetarian that he can’t. I want us to make this better.
The number of vegan children registered in the city currently is 40 children although there will likely be more children following a plant-based diet who don’t access the school meals service. To ensure that no child is inadvertently fed dairy or eggs we register these children as receiving a ‘special diet’ but this is not to side-line this choice or treat the child as different but to ensure they receive appropriate foods. We will look at reviewing our use of language around this with our catering contractor. We will also review how we inform parents about the option of a vegan meal so that students and parents keen to make a choice to move to a plant-based diet can do so easily.
Brighton & Hove is a diverse city and we provide a school meal service that meets the needs of as many of our children as possible. Vegan options can be made available at each primary and special school, under our joint contract with Caterlink – our school meal suppliers. Eight of the Fifteen vegetarian dishes on the menu are already vegan but we need to do more to encourage a greater choice. Council officers have recently asked Caterlink to consider using Quorn products that have recently been made without egg white, making them suitable for all. This will hopefully further widen the vegan options available. We will also discuss with Caterlink how the request for more vegan options and a shift of emphasis towards a plant-based diet can be introduced. We will also review how the tender for a school meals contract is specified to enhance the vegan option when it comes to re-tendering the service in the coming years.
38.4 There were no Deputations.