In their manifesto "For a conscious diet in Portugal", representatives of the sector "repudiate and condemn" the order from the Government, published in August, which regulates school menus, excluding foods such as some charcuterie or hamburgers, in addition to imposing other restrictions with a view to reducing consumption levels of salt and sugar.
“We consider it an empirical, biased order, with questionable information, not supported by any scientific studies nor supported by current national and community legislation. It states that food of animal origin is harmful to health when it is produced under strict standards of hygiene”, reads the manifesto.
The document also emphasises that safe foods, according to current legislation, "are foods without risk to health, therefore they are neither harmful nor inappropriate for the health of consumers".
“We do not live in a food dictatorship, citizens must be adequately informed so that they can make a free and conscious choice regarding their food options. It is not about prohibiting, but about providing the fundamental tools to allow the best options for each individual case. Naturally, there may be more and less healthy foods depending on the health of each citizen, so each citizen must know how to choose according to their individual situation”, the document reads.
The signatories of the manifesto, including the National Federation of Livestock Products Cooperatives (Fenapecuária), the Portuguese Federation of Poultry Associations (Fepasa), or the Portuguese Federation of Pig Farmers Associations (FPAS), demand that students be informed and empowered to make “free and conscientious choices” regarding their food.
They also ask for clarification on the “nutritional richness of meat and meat products” compared to other “nutritionally disadvantageous” ones.
Chouriço sandwiches, croissants, pizza and chips are some of the foods that are now banned in public school bars, while there will also be no hamburgers, hot dogs or juices with added sugar.
These are some of the restrictions provided for in a government diploma, published in August, which limits the "sale of products harmful to health" in school buffets and vending machines.