160 Organizations Urge POTUS to ‘Set an Example for the Nation’ With Plant-Based Shift
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More than 160 NGOs are urging President Biden to issue an Executive Order that encourages cafeterias in federal facilities to prioritize healthy, plant-based food.
The NGOs emphasize that this commitment acknowledges the federal government’s responsibility to lead by example in bringing about positive transformations in the food system.
The letter to the President was signed by organizations including ProVeg, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Harvard Law School, Mercy for Animals, the Environmental Working Group, and the American Heart Association.
‘An example for the nation’
According to the groups, while the Biden Administration has committed to updating and implementing the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities (FSG), the government needs to lead by example to transform the food system for the better.
“Issuing an Executive Order will set an example for the nation to follow by prioritizing human health, sustainability, and animal welfare,” Lana Weidgenant, US Policy and Campaigns Manager at ProVeg, said in a statement.
“The impact of the food system is staggering, but this impact can be significantly reduced with a few simple changes, such as in the area of food procurement.”
The groups say plant-based options are currently offered at nearly all facilities, but standard meals continue to dominate the menus and the massive $8.8 billion federal food budget.
“By fully implementing the FSG through an Executive Order, the federal government can leverage its immense purchasing power to promote plant-based meals, improving health outcomes and reducing long-term healthcare costs,” ProVeg says on its website. “This visionary step will benefit millions, including federal employees, veterans, members of the armed services, and individuals in federal prisons.”
Food’s climate impact
The plea comes as the planet recorded its hottest day on record on July 4, 2023 — and experts say that record will continue to be broken as the planet continues to warm. Governments around the world have been updating their dietary recommendations to straddle both the human and planetary health benefits of a shift to a predominantly plant-based diet.
Last week, the Nordic countries released the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2023, which is directed at improving human health and decreasing the nations’ carbon footprints.
Despite climate change necessitating the need to shift away from animal products, a recent study found politicians still largely ignore animal agriculture — a leading contributor of planet-heating gases. Another recent study also found 93 percent of climate content fails to mention the link between animal agriculture and the climate crisis.