Food awareness organization, ProVeg International, has welcomed actions taken by states across the US to promote plant-based diets and help tackle climate change.
From New York to Illinois to California, state-level policies and legislation are being introduced to promote healthier diets, ensure greater inclusivity and reduce carbon emissions.
“We really welcome the action taken by certain states to push through measures that will shift consumption to more healthy, climate-friendly food,” Lana Weidgenant, ProVeg US policy and campaigns manager, said. “But we really want to see more states take this type of action and help the country meet climate change head-on at the dinner table.”
Plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gasses than animal-based foods, so measures that promote plant-based diets play a significant role in tackling climate change.
Examples of state-level action
In Illinois, the state amended the School Breakfast and Lunch Program Act to require schools, from August 2023, to provide a plant-based lunch to students when requested.
In California, the state legislature’s 2022-2023 budget provides $100 million to support, among other things, schools in procuring plant-based meals. In 2018, California already approved SB1138, which requires state-operated facilities to offer plant-based meals.
In New York, the state passed an Act in 2019 requiring hospitals and nursing homes to offer patients a plant-based food option. In 2022, New York City public schools introduced Plant-Powered Fridays to offer a plant-based dish as the primary menu on Friday.
In Connecticut last week, State Representative Mary Mushinsky sought to introduce language into House Bill 6397 to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from food and drink procured by the state by 25% by 2030. Sadly, the language was not adopted.
Federal level action
Action is also being taken at federal level with a bill introduced into Congress last month requiring children to have the option of drinking fortified soy milk in school. Fortified soy milk was recognized in the 2020 US Dietary Guidelines as being nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.
The ADD SOY Act, drafted by Representatives Carter Troy from Louisiana and Nancy Mace from South Carolina, seeks to support students with lactose intolerance, which is particularly prevalent among the Black, Latino, Native American and Asian-American population. A USDA report in 2019 calculated that the value of unopened, discarded milk came to $300 million annually.
“The ADD SOY Act is a great example of legislation that is inclusive, climate-friendly, helps prevent food waste, and saves tax dollars,” Weidgenant said. “We’re really hopeful that this piece of legislation passes and want to see more bills like this enter Congress,” she added.
Opposition to plant-based diets
Meanwhile, the Dairy Pride Act was reintroduced into Congress last month seeking to stop plant-based food and drink from being labeled with conventional dairy names, such as “milk”. Also, the CURD Act was introduced only days ago, proposing bans related to cheese labeling.
Notes to Editors
For media inquiries, email Lana Weidgenant at [email protected]
About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organization working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.