In a unanimous vote, the City and County of San Francisco has introduced standards and goals for food purchasing by the Department of Public Health and Sheriff’s Department in hospitals and jails that promote more sustainable, healthful, and animal-friendly standards. Specifically, the ordinance means that hospitals will be altering their purchasing practices by 2023 to substitute at least 15% of animal products for plant-based options, and jails will be replacing their total volume of animal products with plant-based foods by at least 50% by 2024.
“We commend Supervisor Fewer for her leadership and all Supervisors for setting targets for more plant-based foods for the City and County of San Francisco in order to reduce numbers of animals killed, to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote healthier eating for people in hospitals and prisons,” said Brandon Burr, Director of Food Policy for Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “Our food choices affect animals and people in profound ways, and this is a fantastic policy that will lead to better outcomes all around.”
This is the most progressive food procurement policy any county has adopted in the nation, and it comes in one of the best known, most visited jurisdictions in the nation.
Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer was very proud of the adoption of the food purchasing standards for hospitals and jails that took three years of coordination. “The Good Food Purchasing Program is a model that was developed in 2012 to incentivize public institutions to procure food produced through values-driven purchasing standards.” The program focuses on local economies, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and nutrition.
Supervisor Fewer also explained the challenges of phasing out animal products with plant-based foods in hospitals compared to jails. “In some years, our generation will likely look back and reflect at our meat consumption in shock, but culture shifts take time, particularly for elderly and infirmed people,” noted Supervisor Fewer. “I want to clarify that the goals listed in this legislation are the minimum commitment and are made in consideration of feasibility and recognition of this. There are opportunities for agencies to go above and beyond the goals set in this ordinance to achieve higher levels in the program, and regular opportunities for advocates to weigh in on the progress and goals through hearings on this ordinance. In other words, this is just the start.”
California voters have approved two ballot measures – Proposition 2 in 2008 and Proposition 12 in 2018 – to ban extreme confinement of farm animals and to set minimum standards for the sale of veal, pork, and eggs in the state. Those sales policies have taken partial effect for the sale of eggs from hens and will be strengthened by the end of 2021. The pork and veal policies also take effect at the end of 2021. California is also home to Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Just, all companies that produce and sell plant-based protein products. Beyond Meat went public in 2019 and its launch as an IPO was one of the most successful in recent memory, with the stock up 400 percent since inception.
The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.
Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.