Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Italy: Skipping Lunch 'Violates Workers' Rights'

(Reuters Health Summary)

Italians, famous for their love for food, responded with an uproar on Tuesday to a minister's comments that lunch breaks should be abolished. According to the minister, they're bad for both waistlines and for the economy.

In Italy, lunch breaks aren't your typical sandwich-at-the-desk, or even cafeteria food. Nope, in Italy, lunches are usually an hour-long affair filled with pasta or meat, a vegetable dish, fruit and coffee at a buffet restaurant.

Cabinet minister Gianfranco Rotondi, who was heavily criticised for his comments, including being lampooned by cartoonists, argues that excessively long, indulgent lunches, take away from the work day, causing it to be unnecessarily long. This, in effect, reduces the amount of time parents can spend with their children and so on and so forth. He claims that this "ritual" "brings Italy to a standstill".

Nutritionists, on the other hand, argue that Italians already eat a very light breakfast, usually some kind of small pastry paired with an espresso, so if they were to skip lunch, they may collapse half way through the day!

Now, I don't know about you - but it seems to me that both groups in this story are being a tiny bit dramatic...Lunch should not be skipped, however it doesn't need to be a 3-course meal lasting an hour! Interesting arguments from both sides, though!

Read more about this issue in the article "Italy finds proposal to skip lunch hard to digest" from Reuters Health (Nov. 24, 2009).