This year, a bill was introduced to amend the education law in relation to requiring public schools to offer plant-based food options. The bill was initiated by the League of Humane Voters® (LOHV®) and introduced by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried.
It reads as follows:
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 915-a to read as follows:
3 § 915-a. Plant-based food options. 1. Upon request by a student or
4 person in parental relation to the student, every public school shall
5 offer the student a plant-based food option as an alternative to every
6 meal or snack offered in food service to the student. The plant-based
7 food option shall be offered at no additional cost to the student beyond
8 what would be charged for a comparable non-plant-based food option.
9 2. The school shall respond in a reasonable manner and time to any
10 request made under this section, consistent with guidance by school
11 authorities. The request shall be effective for every school meal or
12 snack in which the student is reasonably expected to participate. This
13 section does not preclude the offering of plant-based food options to
14 students who have not requested it, and does not preclude an individual
15 who has requested a plant-based food option from selecting a non-plant-
16 based food option.
17 3. As used in this section:
18 (a) “Plant-based food option” means food or beverages that are free of
19 animal products and, as relates to the “protein” portion of a meal,
20 recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a meat
21 alternate for purposes of the national school lunch program.
22 (b) “Animal product” means meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey,
23 and any derivative thereof.
24 4. In implementing this section, the school and school authorities
25 shall consult with the school district nutrition advisory committee
26 under section nine hundred eighteen of this article, where applicable.
27 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to public
28 school food service beginning with the school year, as defined in the
29 education law, beginning one year after it shall have become a law.
Please contact Jeffery Termini, Legislative Director of LOHV® to see how you can help this bill to pass.