The Randers City Council in Denmark has made it mandatory for its municipal institutions, including schools, to serve pork. The regulation has sparked what has been called a meatball war in the city.
The town council has said that the menus of municipal institutions with meal programmes should have "Danish food culture as a central part of the offer" that includes "serving pork on equal footing with other foods".
The council's statement said that the aim was to ensure a healthy and balanced diet for all. It said the regulation will not force anyone "to eat something contrary to one's attitude or religion". Despite this claim, the move has proved divisive, with many questioning how this will affect Muslim and Jewish communities.
The decision came after a proposal from the right-wing and anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP) to include pork in menus got 16 votes in favour. There were 15 votes against the proposal, the statement added.
The decision applies to all municipal day care centres and kindergartens as well, a move that whipped Twitter pundits into a frenzy. One user wrote that the implementation should probably not be done by force feeding kids. Another commented that it seems Denmark's stringent immigration policies are not enough to keep Rander's council happy.
Danish author Manu Sareen called the move a political scandal, an outrage, and the forcing of ideology on children. "It's really amazing what politicians are apparently interfering in. It's politics of the worst kind," he wrote. "People want to impose on others a forced ideology — and in this case on children."
Politician Martin Henriksen of DPP welcomed the move, calling it a way to protect Danish culture. "It is unacceptable to ban Danish food culture, including courts with pork, in Danish institutions," he wrote on Facebook. "The Danish People's Party is working nationally and for Danish culture, including Danish food culture, and thus we are also opposed to Islamic rules and misguided considerations dictating what Danish children eat."