The country has officially banned the tomato condiment from all high school and college cafeterias. While France may blame the condiment's high sugar content, it may also be snubbing the pervading influence of American fast food culture, like McDonald's.
"France must be an example to the world in the quality of its food, starting with its children," said Bruno Le Maire, the agriculture and food minister.
French health authorities want its students to have access to healthier food items, such as more fruits, vegetables and dairy products -- while paying homage to French cuisine.
"Canteens have a public health mission and also an educative mission. We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation," said Christophe Hebert, chairman of the National Association of Directors of Collective Restaurants. And the ban isn't only for health reasons but for cultural reasons. Apparently, a smear of ketchup is the equivalent of watching a Hollywood movie or playing Adele on your iPod.
"We have to ensure that children become familiar with French recipes so that they can hand them down to the following generation," he explained this week.
"We have to stop children from being able to serve those sauces. Children have a tendency to use them to mask the taste of whatever they are eating," added Hebert.
French tots who can't quit the ketchup bottle will have to be satisfied with putting it on their potatoes. Students are allowed ketchup on only one food -- French fries.
Ketchup facts >> The Original Ketchup, known as Catsup did not contain tomatoes >> 97 per cent of American homes keep ketchup in their kitchen. >> Ketchup was first for sale to the public by F & J Heinz Company back in 1876.