NEW YORK—The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members—applauds the New York State Assembly for passing a landmark bill that would guarantee hospital patients a healthful plant-based option at every meal. The bill now moves to the New York State Senate.
A04072, authored by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, requires hospitals in New York state to make available plant-based meals and snacks containing no animal products or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, or honey. The bill also requires hospitals to list the plant-based options in all written materials and menus.
“Thanks to New York State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried for bringing New York a step closer to ensuring that hospital patients have access to healthy, plant-based meals that will help them fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
In September, California passed similar legislation, co-sponsored by the Physicians Committee, guaranteeing patients a healthful plant-based option at every meal. The Physicians Committee’s Healthy Hospital Food web page provides quantity plant-based recipes, tips for implementing plant-based meals, and case studies of hospitals championing healthy food.
In June 2017, the American Medical Association passed a Healthy Food Options in Hospitals resolution that calls on U.S. hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by providing plant-based meals. The American College of Cardiology made the same recommendation in Planting a Seed: Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals.
St. Joseph Health System in Sonoma County, Calif., reports, “Vegetarian entrées cost about 50 percent less than meat entrées.” The hospital projects saving $5,000 a year by serving more meat-free meals.
Jeanne Stuart McVey
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.