SB 1138 Plant Based Meals Advances To The Senate Health Committee; Support Calls Needed Before April 25th!

California patients and prisoners may soon be able to choose a healthful plant-based option at every meal thanks to a 6 – 0 vote in favor of SB 1138 during a California Senate Public Safety Committee hearing yesterday.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, will now go to a vote before the Senate Health Committee on April 25th.

“Everyone in the state of California deserves the same access to nutritious food,” said Senator Skinner. “By ensuring that our hospitals and our prisons provide a plant-based meal option, SB 1138 will help reduce chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.”

SB 1138 would require licensed California healthcare facilities and state prisons to make available plant-based meal options containing no animal products or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs.

“The bottom line: When people eat healthier, they are healthier,” said Heather Shenkman, M.D., an interventional cardiologist who provided testimony during the hearing. “Plant-based diets reduce the risk of disease, which in turn reduces the cost of hospitalizations and medications for treating illness.”

In its position paper on vegetarian diets, co-authored by Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals-stated that “vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

“Patients and prisoners have had to put up with meals that put their health at risk for too long,” says Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. “SB 1138 finally sets that right by giving them options to fight many of America’s deadliest health epidemics.”

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.

“California is leading the nation by following the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology recommendations for plant-based meals,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Passage of SB 1138 will be a boon to the health of patients and prisoners alike.”


Senate Committee on Health Members:

Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D. (Chair) – 916-651-4022
Senator Janet Nguyen (Vice Chair) – 916-651-4034
Senator Connie M. Leyva – 916-651-4020
Senator Holly J. Mitchell – 916-651-4030
Senator Bill Monning – 916-651-4017
Senator Josh Newman – 916-651-4029
Senator Jim Nielsen – 916-651-4004
Senator Richard Pan – 916-651-4006
Senator Richard D. Roth – 916-651-4031

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