From Iceland — Reducing Meat In Reykjavik's Primary Schools Hot Topic In City Council

Reducing Meat In Reykjavik’s Primary Schools Hot Topic In City Council

Published August 27, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

The City Council majority is open to the idea of reducing meat and other animal products in Reykjavík primary schools, but the opposition is reluctant, if not resistant, to the idea.

The Icelandic Vegan Society recently sent out a statement encouraging the municipality to significantly reduce, or eliminate entirely, foods derived from animal products in primary school cafeterias, RÚV reports, as a response to the climate crisis.

Rather than a sweeping and immediate ban, the group suggest offering two choices of meals while showing the food’s carbon footprint, and to reduce animal products in steps. A contributing factor to the idea is the high levels of greenhouse gases produced by the meat industry, both in Iceland and on a global scale. In fact, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Climate Change And Land”, links the global meat industry to the climate crisis.

Líf Magneudóttir, a city councilperson for the Left-Greens who also sits on the Education and Leisure Committee, told reporters that school lunches were last overhauled some years ago. At that time, an emphasis was placed on offering vegetables, fruit and milk, with fish offered twice a week and meat once or twice a week. She added that vegetarian options are always available. That said, she says the City Council majority is in agreement that they should examine ways to reduce animal food products further.

Even so, City Council as a whole is not in concordance over the issue. Eyþór Arnalds, who represents the Independence Party, yesterday posted on Facebook that while he believes school lunches could certainly be better, he expressed concerns about reducing the protein intake of children (note: meat is not the only source of protein found in foods). He believes that a better way of reducing Iceland’s carbon footprint would be to utilise locally-grown food products as much as possible. To emphasise the point, the status is accompanied by a photo of him in a T-shirt upon which is emblazoned “MEAT”.

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