French schools ‘rationing ketchup to fight obesity, preserve culture’

London, Sept 06: French schools are rationing tomato ketchup in their cafeterias in a bid to curb childhood obesity and help children keep their cultural identity.

Baguettes will be freely available for children to eat as part of a government decree that came into force this week.

Tomato sauce – and mayonnaise – will only be allowed with chips, and only once a week at that, and certainly not with traditional dishes such as roast veal.

It is hoped the switch will combat obesity in the nation’s 6.7m primary school pupils.

“Canteens have a public health mission, but also an educative mission,” The Daily Mail quoted National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants chairman Christophe Hebert, as saying.

“We have to ensure children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation,” he said.

“They need to know that in France food means conviviality, sharing and having a good time at the table,” he added.

Under the decree, school chefs must provide four or five dishes every day, including a main course, and a dairy product such as cheese.

They must also offer a starter and a dessert, naturellement. (ANI)