Should federal agencies go vegetarian?

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Some members of Congress want federal agencies to start offering vegetarian options at all federal facilities, from federal agency cafeterias and military bases to museums and national parks.

Led by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), he and 31 other House lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden urging him to “strongly encourage all federal agencies to offer a vegetarian entree wherever cafeterias across the country.” federal government serve meals – from federal government agencies, museums and national parks to prisons and military bases.

This would, of course, be for the benefit of federal employees. Indeed, plant-based meals are healthier than meats, lawmakers say. Members of Congress state in their letter:

Plant-based meals have tremendous health benefits for our population, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Making a vegetarian meal available at federal facilities will help federal workers and visitors get more protein and nutrients from plants.

And, members of Congress say vegetarian meals will help save the planet. They further state in their letter:

Offering vegetarian entrees at federal facilities can also improve the health of our environment by reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint. American farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock and animal waste together produce significant levels of methane emissions, while fertilizers used to produce animal feed create significant emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas. greenhouse than carbon dioxide. Helping people access plant-based options can help us reduce our carbon footprint.

They conclude their letter by stating that young Americans probably prefer to eat vegetarian foods anyway since they are already looking for meals of this type, so given all the aforementioned reasons, it makes sense that the government continues to push so many people as possible to eat a certain way.

Other proposals to restrict meat in federal cafeterias

This isn’t the first time Congress has tried to dictate what federal employees eat.

Last year, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced a bill to ban the government from banning meat in federal agency cafeterias. She introduced it in response to a proposal from the Department of Agriculture that encouraged her employees to stop eating meat one day a week to help save themselves and the planet. The idea is that animals are a source of pollution because they produce greenhouse gases and beef production requires the use of water, fertilizers, fossil fuels and pesticides. The USDA has further stated that excessive consumption of meat is considered unhealthy.

A 2012 USDA newsletter said, “Have you noticed our cafeterias have tasty meatless options? So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a great vegetarian meal!

Ernst disagreed, however, saying, “Our federal agencies should not encourage people to ban agricultural products at the expense of hardworking American farmers and growers. Congress must make known its intention to remove “meatless Mondays” and other types of militant bans on agricultural products from our government canteens.

Letter to President Biden urging vegetarian options in federal facilities

July 26, 2022

Dear President Biden:

We are writing with great excitement for the upcoming White House Hunger, Nutrition and Health Conference to be held in September. As you consider proposals to end hunger in America, improve health and nutrition, and promote exercise, we urge you to strongly encourage all federal agencies to offer a vegetarian entree wherever federal government cafeterias serve meals. – federal agencies, museums and national parks. in prisons and military bases.

Plant-based meals have tremendous health benefits for our population, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Making a vegetarian meal available at federal facilities will help federal workers and visitors get more protein and nutrients from plants.

Offering vegetarian entrees at federal facilities can also improve the health of our environment by reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint. American farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock and animal waste together produce significant levels of methane emissions, while fertilizers used to produce animal feed create significant emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas. greenhouse than carbon dioxide. Helping people access plant-based options can help us reduce our carbon footprint.

More and more Americans are interested in vegetarian options, especially younger Americans, who are looking for healthier options that also reduce their carbon footprint. Although the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities recommends that federal facilities “offer plant-based protein foods” and define a main course as “meat” or a “meat substitute”, vegetarian dishes are still not routinely provided at federal facilities. Let’s help make nutritious and delicious vegetarian meals more readily available to federal workers, visitors and Americans.

Through your leadership, our nation is working to eradicate hunger and address our nation’s health and environmental challenges. To help ensure that the federal government is at the forefront of its own dietary practices, we urge you to provide a vegetarian option wherever the federal government serves a meal to our people.

© 2022 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the express written consent of Ian Smith.

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