Eating meat becomes election issue in Poland

One politician promotes eating insects, worms over meat
calendar icon 6 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Polish voters were given food for thought on Friday, as politicians from the two main parties traded accusations that the other side planned to push meat-loving citizens into eating worms ahead of elections this autumn, reported Reuters.

Lawmakers from the ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) claim that opposition party Civic Platform (PO) plans to limit the consumption of meat and replace it with insects, an accusation PO rejects.

"For the upcoming elections, PO politicians should write on each poster 'Instead of chicken eat a worm', because this is their real election programme," PiS lawmaker Bartosz Kownacki told reporters.

State-run broadcaster TVP Info accompanied Kownacki's press conference with a news ticker reading "The opposition's proposals for Poles: worms instead of meat". TVP Info has been regularly criticised by the opposition as being a mouthpiece for government propaganda.

The subject of eating worms has featured heavily on TVP Info since the C40 Cities initiative, which recommends measures such as eating less meat and using cars less to combat climate change, said Warsaw would feature in a project to demonstrate "the role of cities in responding to the climate, energy and cost of living crises".

The mayor of Warsaw is leading opposition politician Rafal Trzaskowski.

However, PO politicians and city hall officials say this does not mean proposals to force people to lower meat consumption and eat worms are under consideration.

PO leader Donald Tusk hit back at the PiS allegations on Friday, labelling the government a "promoter of worm soup".

Tusk was referring to media reports that the National Centre for Research and Development had provided 6.5 million zlotys ($1.47 million) in funding to a project called "SmartFood" which included the rearing of edible insects.

"It is a bit humiliating for everyone that the media and politicians have been wondering for several days whether Mayor Trzaskowski really wants to force Poles to eat worms, not meat," Tusk told reporters.

Poland's Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy has said that "SmartFood" is not a government programme and is mainly funded by Norway, state-run news agency PAP reported.

($1 = 4.4365 zlotys)

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