Friday, June 4, 2010

Washington D.C. City Council Unanimously Passes Law Encouraging More Plant-Based Meals at City Schools

Farm Sanctuary Endorses Healthy School Meals Act Making Vegetarian and Non-Dairy Beverage Options More Widely Available at School Meals

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – June 4, 2010 – Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, today congratulates the District of Columbia City Council for unanimously approving the D.C. Healthy School Meals Act on June 2 which will provide new and innovative guidelines to offer students healthy meals at school. This auspicious law will establish local nutritional standards for school meals and make plant-based meal options and non-dairy beverages more widely available at schools within the D.C. area.

Amongst many positive effects the law will have, the D.C. Healthy School Meals Act will encourage school districts to offer vegetarian meals to students on a weekly basis; will instruct public and charter schools to inform families and guardians that plant-based meals and non-dairy beverage options are available if a request for such items is made; and will provide additional funding for the purchase of fruits and vegetables by school districts, thereby making these healthy foods more affordable to schools within the area in question.

“By passing this law, the D.C. City Council has taken a significant stand for the health of the capital’s students,” notes Dr. Allan Kornberg, executive director of Farm Sanctuary. “As a pediatrician with more than 25 years of experience, I have seen first-hand the extraordinarily harmful effects of unhealthy diets on children. Providing nutritious, cruelty-free food to students is a basic yet incredibly vital way to immediately improve the lives of our nation’s youth.”

Beyond the realm of D.C., Farm Sanctuary has launched a national campaign to pass the much-needed federal Healthy School Meals Act (H.R. 4870). As an amendment to the Child Nutrition Act, this new legislation would offer financial incentives to school districts throughout the country that offer students plant-based food options and non-dairy beverages. Not only would H.R. 4870 assist in improving the health of the general youth population, but it would also bring relief to many students who refrain from consuming animal products for ethical, environmental, religious, or other reasons. Previously, students wishing to abstain from consuming dairy were required to have a note from a doctor before being offered any alternatives. Should the Healthy School Meals Act pass, this requirement would be rescinded and those students would be offered nutritionally equivalent alternatives.

“The D.C. City Council should be proud of the action it took today,” continued Dr. Kornberg. “The D.C. Healthy School Meals Act will allow schools within the city that cannot currently afford to do so to provide healthy, plant-based options to their students in the very near future. With the federal Healthy School Meals Act, we hope to extend this ability to schools around our nation, allowing students to receive proper nutrition and to have vegan, non-dairy options at school meals, regardless of a district’s financial constraints.”

This is great!  Healthier kids, and saving animals!

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