A l'UM la science [S01-ep23]: Sustainable menus in the canteen

This week in A l'UM la science Nicole Darmon, nutrition researcher at the Moisa laboratory gives us some ideas for improving the sustainability of canteen meals without compromising their nutritional quality.

Did you know that the school canteen is a French invention? In 1844, Emile Depasse, mayor of Lannion, appealed to the town's bourgeoisie to finance a catering service in the charity office that welcomed 150 of the town's poor children every day. This initiative became widespread in 1880, when the Ferry laws made education compulsory.

However, the term "nutritional quality of meals" was not coined until 1951, and it was UNESCO that first put the issue on the table, calling for meals to be "composed in such a way as to promote the growth and psychological development of the child ". In the French education system, the first circulars appeared in the early 70s, and it was in 1999 that the broad outlines for structuring and preparing meals took shape.

In 2001, the French Ministry of Health launched the National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS), considering school catering as a means of nutritional education. It wasn't until 2011, however, that the sugar content of a portion of food became the subject of a recommendation.

In recent years, the ecological crisis has turned food from a health issue into a sustainability issue. As a result, we've seen a greater proportion of organic and local foods on the menu. But how can we go further? Nicole Darmon is a nutrition researcher at Inrae. She took part in a study published in theEuropean Journal of Nutrition to improve the sustainability of school meals in France, and shares some interesting leads with us.

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Production: Université de Montpellier/Divergence FM
Animation : Lucie Lecherbonnier
Aline Périault/Lucie Lecherbonnier
Production: Anna Demeulandre and Adeline Floc'h

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