Here's why eating lunch at your desk in France is banned

Here's why eating lunch at your desk in France is banned
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We've probably all scranned a sandwich at our desks when work has been busy, but in France that is not allowed.

The French labor code passed in 1894 prohibits workers from eating lunch in the workplace - here's why.

Food-culture historian Martin Bruegel argues the code was originally passed for health reasons.

"The workplace in the 1890s was full of health hazards," he told NPR.

"Even in department stores, there were more microbes and germs per cubic feet than outside."

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So, as diseases spread during the Industrial Revolution, Bruegel says doctors realised the best way to get clean air into workspaces was to get people to leave during lunch.

As years passed, eating outside became a part of French culture, which brings us close to the present, when eating together had the inverse effect on health and safety.

Yes, we're bringing up the pandemic. In February 2021, the lunch-break law was put on pause to try and limit the spread of Covid. But the lunch law suspension expired this year and the French are eating outside their offices once more.

We're jealous.

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