Vegan woman's discrimination claim against hospital over 'inadequate' meals tossed by Danish court

A Danish court on Thursday ruled against a claim that a patient’s rights were violated when a hospital failed to give her adequate meals for her vegan diet during her stay there four years ago.

The Vegetarian Society of Denmark had sued the administrative unit overseeing hospitals in Copenhagen and its surroundings on behalf of the woman, saying that her choice of diet was protected by the European Court of Human Rights.

The society further claimed she was subjected to discrimination by not being offered sufficient vegan meals during her hospitalization in March and in the fall of 2020.


The District Court in Hilleroed, north of Copenhagen, said in its ruling that the woman had the option of bringing specific food herself or with the help of her relatives or others. She also had the opportunity to buy vegan food in a shop located on the hospital grounds.

“In the court’s view, the woman had not been prevented from eating vegan food during her hospitalization,” it said.

The society Vegetarian Society of Denmark said the woman it identified as Mette Rasmussen, had been hospitalized in Hvidovre in connection with her pregnancy. She has not yet decided whether to appeal Thursday’s ruling.

“It is very surprising that the court believes that what I was offered is considered adequate as vegan food, both in terms of nutrition and taste,” the society cited Rasmussen as saying.

Rasmussen said she was given only “dry white rice, baked carrots, celery and boiled potatoes.”

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