More than 2,000 sign petition for healthy nutrition in Liège schools, nurseries
Wednesday, 27 March 2019
An online petition calling for a ban on the use of disposable plastic containers to pack meals for children in nurseries and schools in Liège has received over 2,000 signatures, according to two mothers who have challenged the city’s communal college on behalf of a collective of parents. The mothers pointed to the risk posed to children’s health by the transfer of chemicals into food.
Liège Mayor Willy Demeyer said that the packaging complied with food-safety requirements but was “contrary to the zero-waste policy we wish to follow, so it needs to be abandoned.” The municipal council unanimously approved on Monday a motion aimed at eliminating plastic completely from all municipal services.
The two mothers then called for creche kitchens to be reopened and supplied, along with school canteens, with organic local food. However, the mayor said it was impossible to reintroduce kitchens into the municipal nurseries, knowing that there are 27 of them. Staffing these kitchens, equipping them, and complying with federal food-safety and fire requirements would represent a multi-million-euro investment, he said.
He added that orders for the meals would have to go through City Hall, as the line authority, and it would be difficult to find small local market gardeners “able to supply each day the tonnes of local and/or organic products needed to prepare 3,000 meals”, as the Collective has requested.
Demeyer stressed that the City intended to pursue the process of using food produced locally and organically in meals prepared by the ISoSL public inter-municipal association for creches and school canteens. The amount budgeted for this was increased to 70,000 euros this year, up from 25,000 euros in 2018, he said.