All 11 hospitals in New York City (NYC) will now serve plant-based meals by default.
The move came after a nonprofit focused on regime change The Better Food Foundation in partnership with New York City Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Office. The foundation aims to help healthcare organizations improve health outcomes, reduce carbon emissions and lower food costs.
Meat options will still be available for those who wish. But hospitals offer plant-based dishes for every meal.
The initiative seems to have started successfully. More than half of the patients chose vegan dishes. In addition, 95% of them say they are satisfied with their choice. Only one percent of patients identified as vegetarians or vegans.
“As NYC beckons toward an exciting future, it is also returning to the roots of its people. Plant-based diets have been integral to food cultures and religions throughout history,” a spokesperson said. from the Better Food Foundation in a statement.
“In culturally diverse NYC, it’s even more important to center inclusive food choices on the menu.”
The spokesperson added that people of color are “most likely” to be lactose intolerant and to develop diabetes and heart disease. They continued, “Access to healthy plant-based foods through public institutions like hospitals and schools is not just a health issue; it’s a social justice publish.”
Campaigns to serve vegan food in hospitals
Outside of New York, medical professionals are also campaigning for more plant-based meals in hospitals.
Earlier this year, a group of doctors wrote an open letter to NHS Scotland urging them to serve more plant-based foods to patients.
The letter compared serving meat to “handing out cigarettes in the pulmonary care unit.”
He added: “Switching to 100% vegan menus…would help NHS Scotland improve patient recovery, reduce costs, prevent animal suffering and deliver on its commitment to net zero carbon emissions.”
The enormous costs of meat
As well as leading to the death of billions of animals every year, meat is also a major cause of a number of major human health issues.
Processed pork meat (such as bacon, ham and salami) is classified as group one carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.
Red meat is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. And dairy products have been linked to an increased risk of diseases like prostate cancer.