INDUSTRY bodies have slammed City of Edinburgh council as they axe meat from their menus in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

The city of the first in Scotland, and the first European capital, to take such a stance, as Edinburgh voted to adopt the Plant-Based Treaty – including a pledge to promote vegan food over animal products.

Edinburgh is the second place in the UK to adopt the treaty, launched in 2021, after Haywards Heath Town Council in West Sussex. It is one of 20 worldwide, including Los Angeles.

The city's' kids are being encouraged to opt for plant-based meal at school after the City of Edinburgh Council endorsed the Plant-Based Treaty, an initiative that aims to tackle food-related emissions.

A council report said: "Overall, the science is clear: Meat and dairy consumption must reduce to achieve climate targets."

The report claims that diets high in plant protein and low in meat and dairy make for lower greenhouse gas emissions, and that consequently, shifting consumption towards plant-based diets has a major mitigation potential. It states that, overall, the science is clear, meat and dairy consumption must reduce to achieve climate targets. It shows food and diet account for 23% of Edinburgh’s consumption-based footprint with 12% of these emissions from the consumption of meat.

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The report states: “a shift to plant-based diets would therefore significantly reduce the city’s consumption-based emissions.”

However, pupils will still be able to opt for meat on their plate. Council leader, Cammy Day said: "By endorsing the Plant Based Treaty the Council is expressing support for a treaty to be negotiated at a global level as a companion to the Paris Agreement on climate. The Plant Based Treaty is not legally binding and is modelled on the Fossil Fuel Treaty, which Edinburgh endorsed in March 2022 as the first city in Scotland."

A QMS spokesman hit back at the Councils' decision, saying: "Following the recent media coverage regarding Edinburgh City Council and red meat being off the menu in Edinburgh schools, both QMS and NFUS would like to highlight discrepancies in the reporting on what the city’s decision to sign the up to the non-binding Plant Based Treaty means.

"Although plant-based options will be available in schools, our understanding is that young people will still have red meat choices as part of a healthy, balanced diet. That forms a great platform to discuss how we can get more local, sustainably produced food included in public procurement in the future.

"Both parties are in the process of setting up joint meetings with local councils including Edinburgh, to discuss the benefits of red meat in a healthy balanced diet and how all local authorities can ensure Scotland’s Good Food Nation Bill, passed by the Scottish Parliament in June, delivers jointly for the Scottish people and the Scottish Food and Drink industry.

"By comparison, the Plant Based Treaty runs contradictory to the good food nation plans that Government, local authorities and health boards are obliged to create as part of the Good Food Nation Bill."