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September 21, 2018 - GruntVegan

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Vegan food in hospitals and prisons now the law in California

Vegan food in hospitals and prisons now the law in California

The legislation which passed the California State Assembly by a vote of 69-9, is now signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. It will require licensed California health care facilities and state prisons to "make available plant-based meal options containing no animal products or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs". 

This landmark bill "guarantees patients a healthful plant-based option at every meal" reported Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) who authored Senate Bill 1138, which was co-sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Social Compassion in Legislation. 

"Whether to protect animals, our climate or our health, those of us who choose to eat a vegan diet can celebrate today with Gov. Brown’s signing of SB 1138," says Sen. Skinner. 

Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee president gave thanks to Sen. Nancy Skinner and Gov. Jerry Brown "for passing this historic law that will provide plant-based options to hospital patients looking to fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—or who simply want a more healthful meal". 

"Now, it’s time for California hospitals to start putting into practice the plant-based meals recommended by the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology."

Judie Mancuso, President and Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation, a sponsor of SB 1138, said that "We are elated that Governor Brown sees the value in offering plant-based meals in prisons and medical facilities". 

"Plant-based foods are key to better health outcomes, fighting climate change and reducing the number of animals in our food production." 

Hospitals, are one of the places where patients need good nutrition and antioxidants the most. Feeding patients processed meats, classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization, and generally cholesterol-laden animal based meat and dairy known to contribute to disease is contrary to good health and healing. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

"There’s a basic human right to nutritious food that meets health and cultural needs,” said Skinner. “SB 1138 makes sure that California custodial facilities respect that right.”  

We could see an increase in the amount of plant-based meals served at health facilities in the future, if the results are favourable on scientific research being carried out to determine how plant-based foods can help prevent chronic heart issues, diabetes and other health problems.

And as an added bonus, the environment gets a boost as well, notes Skinner. The new plant-based food option for these institutions helps propel California further toward climate protection and water conservation goals. A 2014 study in the journal Climatic Change found that vegetarian diets were associated with a 50 percent reduction in food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

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