French school cafeteria dropping pork alternatives

(JTA) — A French public school stopped offering meat alternatives to pork in its cafeteria — a change mostly affecting Jewish and Muslim students.

The alternative meats were removed last week to lower the overhead of running the cafeteria of the elementary school of Arveyres, a small town near Bordeaux in southern France, according to the local radio station France Bleu Gironde. 

Like many other French municipalities, Arveyres public schools began offering alternative meats in the 1990s. 

In a statement, the school’s management said that 28 of the school’s 180 students do not eat pork. The school said the students who don’t eat pork may switch to a vegetarian menu.

“They have enough things to eat at the cafeteria, including proteins,” the school management is quoted as telling the radio station. 

Southern France is home to France’s second largest Jewish community, as well as hundreds of thousands of French Muslims.

Laetitia Rekaika, the mother of one of the 28 children who do not eat pork, told Radio Monte-Carlo, “I don’t understand the decision. We’re not asking for halal or kosher meat, we only want a protein-based substitute.”

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