France has banned the use of ketchup in school and college cafeterias, in what it calls an effort to promote healthy eating habits and to protect its culinary heritage. Not surprisingly, the often xenophobic nation has made one notable exception:
In an effort to promote healthful eating and, it has been suggested, to protect traditional Gallic cuisine, the French government has banned school and college cafeterias nationwide from offering the American tomato-based condiment with any food but — of all things — French fries.
And even french fries are only allowed to be served once a week. However, traditional French dishes like boeuf bourguignon, no matter how unhealthy, aren’t falling under similar scrutiny:
“France must be an example to the world in the quality of its food, starting with its children,” said Bruno Le Maire, the agriculture and food minister.
Another more draconian restriction states that French school children cannot bring their own packed lunches to school. They must either eat the cafeteria offerings, or go home to for their daily sustenance. Still, there are more admirable aspects of the program, including the introduction of more vegetables and fruits into the daily meal plans.