Calif. poised to require vegan meals in healthcare and prison foodservice

If made law, SB 1138 would require hospitals and prisons to offer plant-based meals.

vegan prep options

Photograph: Shutterstock

The California Assembly passed a bill last week that would require hospitals, healthcare facilities and prisons to offer plant-based options at every meal. The bill will now move to California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it into law, though the governor himself has made no statement regarding when or if he will sign the bill.

The measure, SB 1138, was authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and co-sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy group that promotes plant-based eating. If made into law, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would "prepare a plan to implement the provision of plant-based meals on an overall cost-neutral basis," according to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and reported by Reuters.

In June 2017, the American Medical Association passed a Healthy Food Options in Hospitals resolution that encourages U.S. hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff and visitors by providing plant-based options. The American College of Cardiology made a similar recommendation.

"California is leading the nation by acting on the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology recommendations for plant-based meals," said Susan Levin, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "Providing plant-based meals won't just help patients and prisoners fight obesity, diabetes and heart disease; it could save hospitals and prisons thousands of dollars a year."


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