German citizens’ council backs free lunches for all schoolchildren

German citizens’ council backs free lunches for all schoolchildren

A citizens’ council (Bürgerrat) has called for the government to offer free meals to all schoolchildren in Germany, more information for consumers about animal welfare and a 0 percent sales tax on organic fruit and vegetables.

Public health report pushes for free school meals in Germany

A report put together by a citizens’ council has concluded that the government should provide free lunches for all pupils in the German school system in the interest of public health. The council suggested that financial responsibility for the policy be shared by governments at the federal and state levels.

The citizens’ council has now presented its agenda, which includes nine suggestions for new public health policies related to nutrition, to Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD). Bas said that the conclusions would act as an "important impulse for our parliamentary work."

In Germany, citizens councils are made up of between 200 and 300 randomly selected members of the public. This assembly is divided into smaller working groups who are given the task of deliberating a specific issue in society before presenting several policy suggestions that the government could implement in response to the issue.

After its deliberations, the jury concluded that offering free school meals for all children through to the end of secondary school education was fundamental to ensuring that children in Germany have access to nutritious food. At the moment, free school meals are only given on a means-tested basis to economically disadvantaged children.

Packaging should have information about animal treatment, says council

Food labelling with more detailed information about nutrition and greater transparency about methods used to breed and raise animals were also among the council’s suggestions.

Other recommendations included obligating supermarkets to donate extra food to food banks in Germany and banning the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 16.

Finally, perhaps the policy suggestion with the potential to make the most sweeping change, the council argued that Germany should upheave its food tax system to ensure that healthy, ethical and environmentally friendly products are affordable for everyone. Specifically, Germany should adopt 0 percent sales tax on organic fruit and vegetables while simultaneously instituting a 19 percent tax on sugar and non-organic meat.

All of these proposals are now set to be discussed in the Bundestag at the end of February 2024.

Thumb image credit: MikeDotta /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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