Proposed Italian law could see parents jailed for putting children on 'restrictive diets'

Politician Elvira Savino claims problems can arise with vegan diets when "children are involved"

Proposed Italian law could see parents jailed for putting children on 'restrictive diets'

File photo. Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new proposal being put forward in Italy could see parents jailed if they put their children on 'restrictive diets' such as veganism.

The law is being proposed by Elvira Savino, a member of the Forza Italia party.

Parents could face one year in prison - or two year if the child is under three years of age - if their child is put on a so-called 'restrictive diet'.

Those diets are classified as ones that lack "essential elements for healthy and balanced growth".

La Republicca reports that the jail terms would increase if children suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of malnutirtion - and parents would be sent to prison for four to six years if their child dies.

According to the Local.it, Mrs Savino has stressed that she does not intend to attack veganism, which she says can be a healthy diet.

It has also seen increased popularity in Italy, with 2.9% of the population avoiding animal products.

However, the politician adds that problems can arise "when children are involved".

The law would look to "stigmatise the reckless and dangerous eating behaviour imposed by parents".

Health agencies and dietitians generally advise that while children can safely be brought up on vegetarian or vegan diets, care must be taken to ensure all their nutritional needs are met.

The Italian proposals come following a number of incidents involving malnourished children in the country.

A baby, who was being raised on a vegan diet, was hospitalised in July suffering from severe malnutrition.

Doctors discovered that he weighed only slightly more than a three-month-old, despite being 14 months.