Andy Clark said it is unfair that meat-eating pupils, including those who require halal food, have up to 11 choices, while his daughter, Frida, 3, has four, at Eastwood nursery in a city that is said to have more vegans than any other UK city.
In an email sent to Mr Clark, Linda Andrew, head of school catering, said it would not be practicable to provide vegan meals on a ‘like-for-like’ basis due to ‘availability, storage, procurement arrangements and support resources.’
The council said it provides around 35,000 meals, including 15 different types of medical diets for a total of 1227 pupils in schools and early years establishments as well as ‘ ethical and moral diets including vegan requests.’
Mr Clark, who lives in Auldhouse with his partner Kirsten, claims at one point he was told by Ms Andrews that, ‘it was not GCC policy to cater for vegans.’
The dad said he does not accept the council’s reasons for being unable to provide the same level of choice for vegan children but added that he would be happy if his daughter was simply offered ‘a bit more choice.’
Mr Clark said: “Although it contradicts what we originally told, we welcome the council’s acknowledgement that they officially cater for ethical and moral diets including vegan and will now be asking for a three-week Vegan menu plan in line with other meal plans.
“We have suggested like for like alternatives (i.e. sausages, veggie fingers, veggie burger etc) and, as we have stated in previous emails, we appreciate this cannot always be achievable but are only looking for a slightly more varied menu plan.
“Frida currently has four choices compared to 11 standard/halal choices.
“We do not accept ‘availability, storage, procurement arrangements and support resources’ (whatever the last two mean) as reasons for not being able to provide like for like vegan alternatives.”
A council spokeswoman said: “It’s simply untrue to say that the council does not cater specifically for a vegan diet.
“Our schools and nurseries accommodate individual ethical, moral and medical dietary requirements – including vegan – on request from parents and carers with different daily meals on offer.
“Every day our school meal service supply over 35K meals and there are 15 different types of medical diets for a total 1227 pupils in schools and early years to try to meet the needs of our children.
“We also routinely review menu choices and as communicated to this family, we will pass on their suggestions to the menu planning group.”
A petition has been lodged at the Scottish Parliament calling for vegan food on all public-sector menus from schools and hospitals to prisons and councils.
Lawyer Barbara Bolton, of Go Vegan Scotland, argues public organisations have an obligation to provide options and has warned that they could be taken to court if they refuse.