France Bans Ketchup In Schools And Universities
The French government announced that starting this week, ketchup will no longer be allowed in any school or university cafeteria in an effort to promote healthy eating, as well as protect the country’s distinguished gourmet cuisine from disappearing beneath the American-conceived product—in both the literal and metaphoric sense.
"We have to stop children from being able to serve those sauces,” said Christophe Hebert, chairman of the National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants and the man behind the ketchup ban. “Children have a tendency to use them to mask the taste of whatever they are eating.”
Hebert fears that the use of ketchup (and other condiments) desensitizes children from the gourmet essence of French cuisine, jeopardizing the future of the country’s classic recipes.
“We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation,” Hebert said.
Requiring cafeteria food to be served ketchup-free isn’t the only change students will experience at lunchtime. The new regulations also require schools to offer four to five different dishes each day, which includes a starter dish, main course, at least one dairy product (such as yogurt or cheesedessert, and healthy sides such as broccoli or spinach. There will be no limitations on bread, however, as baguettes must be available in an unlimited supply.
"They need to know that in France food means conviviality, sharing and having a good time at the table," Hebert said. “We absolutely have to stop children from being able to serve those sorts of sauces to themselves with every meal.”
But not all meals have to remain "sans ketchup." There is one exception: Students are allowed to eat ketchup once a week with—of all foods—French fries, which are also served only once per week.
While ketchup may disappear from schools in France, it’s hard to imagine the American condiment will be banished from the country altogether. After all, France ranks at the top of McDonald’s European market. Ironic, n'est-ce pas?
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