Forcing a vegan diet on children could land you in jail in Italy

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Promoting a form of healthy eating could land you in jail in Italy.

The Guardian reported that Elvira Savino, the deputy of the Forza Italia party, has proposed legislation that would place parents in prison for up to six years if they make their children 16 and under live on a vegan diet. The legislation is being put in place to help "stigmatize the reckless and dangerous eating behavior imposed by parents … to the detriment of minors."

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"For some years the belief has been spreading in Italy that a vegetarian diet, even in the rigid form of a vegan diet, results in significant health benefits," Savino told Newsweek. "There can be no objection if the person making this choice is an informed adult. A problem arises when minors are involved."

Related: Vegan baby found malnourished, parents lose custody

The Guardian reported that the legislation would mean vegan diets — which means not eating meat, eggs, daily or animal products of any kind — would be banned for children. Savino proposes that parents face a one-year prison sentence if their child is under the age of 3, and four to six years if death is the result.

The Italian Society of Food Science rejected Savino’s proposal, saying that sugar and fat "were of greater concern than the risks of deficiency of a vegan diet," according to The Guardian.

The proposal stems from the case of a 1-year-old boy in Italy who was removed from his parents' custody after being found severely malnourished while on a vegan diet.

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