Italian parents could face jail – for feeding kids veggies

Those crazy Italians. Just when you think they couldn’t possibly get any quirkier, they go ahead and do something silly – like proposing jail time for feeding vegetables to your kids.

Or to be more accurate, parents would face jail time for feeding their kids only vegetables.

Lawmakers in Italy have proposed legislation that targets vegan parents, who impose the highly restrictive diet on their children.


A vegan diet includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains and basically all of the other plant-based foods your parents always tried to make you eat when you were growing up. It’s obviously full of healthy nutrients – but its critics are more concerned with what it leaves out than what it includes.

When you follow a vegan diet you don’t eat meat, eggs, dairy or any other foods derived from an animal. Legit vegans tend to steer clear of processed food as well.

Personally, I’m amazed that any parent who can make this work. I am pulling my hair out most nights trying to get my kids to eat a single shred of carrot, let alone a whole meal of veggies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But when I heard Italy was imposing this law, I was intrigued.

In a world where kids are increasingly becoming obese and dangerously unhealthy, genetically modified corn syrup is seeping into everything we eat, it seems crazy that policy makers would target “too many veggies” as a big concern.

So I did a little research. And it seems that the legislation, proposed by Forza Italia member Elvira Savino, may not be too far-fetched after all.

Any diet that is too restrictive in any sense can do damage and it’s a growing concern in Italy, where around 2.8 percent of the population is vegan.

This call to outlaw veganism in kids comes after a one-year-old boy in Milan who was raised on a strict vegan diet was found weighing just 5kg. For context: my 7-month-old weighs 8kg and he was 4.3kg at birth.

Another two-year-old was found severely malnourished and spent several days in intensive care as a result of her vegan diet.

If the law is passed, parents could be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison if they impose a vegan diet on their children that leaves them with malnutrition-related problems.

It’s less of a law to ban too many veggies, and more of a move to protect children from negligent parenting – and that is something I think we can all get behind.