PARENTS who enforce a vegan or vegetarian diet on their children in Italy could soon be jailed for up to four years. Proposed new laws would make it an offence to deprive children of the nutrients essential for their growth. Elvira Savino, from Italy’s centre-right Forza Party, says her bill would prevent “radicalised” diets being imposed on youngsters. Vegetarian and vegan diets lack can lack zinc, iron, omega-3 and vitamin D and B12, she claimed. And if her bill is successful, imposing such a diet on someone under 16 would become a criminal offence. The country has been rocked in recent months by a series of child hospitalisations caused by vegan diets. Last month, a 14-month-old baby was taken to hospital with the expected weight of a three-month-old. It emerged he had been subjected to a vegan diet, leaving him dangerously malnourished and with low calcium levels. According to Repubblica, Savino said: “For years now, and particularly in the last decade, the belief has been spreading that a vegetarian diet, even in its most rigid form as a vegan diet, provides substantial contributions to health. “The problem arises when children are to be involved.” She noted that her bill was aimed at stigmatising reckless eating “and dangerous behaviour imposed by parents… to the detriment of minors”.