NYC Lawmakers Aim to ‘Ban the Baloney’ in Public School Lunches

Plant-based New York City Council members are pushing to keep the city’s children healthy by banning all processed meats from public school lunches.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and council members Fernando Cabrera, Helen Rosenthal and Justin Brannan introduced Resolution 238 to the Council on March 22, 2018. The proposed legislation calls upon the New York City Department of Education to ban processed meats from being served within New York City public schools.

“We cannot continue feeding our children substances that are scientifically proven to increase their chances of cancer later in life,” Adams told the New York Post.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaking in Brooklyn  Borough Hall.  Photo credit: Eric Adams Facebook page

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaking in Brooklyn Borough Hall. Photo credit: Eric Adams/Facebook

The City of New York serves an impressive 850,000 meals every day to its school children. The city has already taken some excellent steps, such as instituting Meatless Mondays in 2017 and making sure at least one vegan meal option is available in 1,200 city schools. Removing processed meats would be a welcome additional measure.

The resolution notes that:

[T]he World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that  consumption of processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans,” which can lead to increased risk of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes, among other diseases…

The type of meats we’re talking about here are foods like hot dogs, jerky, pepperoni, corned beef, bacon, sausage, ham, salami, canned meat and meat sauces. Processed meats are those which have been smoked, cured, fermented, salted or otherwise preserved to extend their shelf life or augment their flavor.

They’re dangerous because research has shown cancer-causing chemicals like N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can form during the processing procedure. How dangerous are they? According to the WHO, 50g of processed meat per day — the equivalent of a mere two slices of bacon — increases your risk of cancer by 18 percent.

“Chicken nuggets and sloppy joes are in the same class of substances as cigarettes. We know that we would never give our children cigarettes to smoke, so there’s absolutely no reason why we should continue poisoning our children’s health with processed foods,” Adams told the New York Post.

Adams adopted a plant-based diet in 2016, successfully reversing his Type 2 diabetes. Council members Cabrera, Rosenthal and Brannan likewise no longer eat meat.

It’s clear why these particular council members have banded together to propose Resolution 238, known now as “Ban the Baloney.” They each have personal experience with the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Getting rid of processed meats is an excellent first step.

And it sounds like the New York City mayor’s office is open to at least considering this proposal.

“This Administration is committed to providing all our students with free healthy and nutritious meals,” said Olivia Lapeyrolerie, deputy press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We launched the Meatless Monday program and are reviewing this proposal.” Lapeyrolerie noted that the schools currently do not serve either bacon or bologna to students.

Completely eliminating processed meats from school lunches is great recommendation. It’s a smart, healthy stride in the right direction for New York City’s school children. For many of them, lunch at school is the best meal they get in a day. Shouldn’t it also be the healthiest?

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr


Cindy S
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Janis K13 days ago

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Jaime J14 days ago

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Leo C24 days ago

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Jaime Jabout a month ago

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