NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1624
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
requiring public schools to offer plant-based food options in food
This bill would require public schools to offer plant-based food options
to a student upon request by a student or person in parental relation to
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS::
Section 1 adds a new section 915-a tb the Education Law to:
1. Require that every public school shall offer a plant-based food
option as an alternative to meals or snacks upon a student or parent's
2. Require the school to respond in a reasonable manner and time to any
request made under this section.
3. Defines "plant-based food option" as free of animal products and, as
relates to the "protein" portion of a meal, as recognized by the US
Department of Agriculture as a meat alternative; and defines "animal
product" as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey, and any deriva-
4. Require schools to consult with school district nutrition advisory
committees established in section 918 of Education Law where applicable.
Section 2. Effective date. This act shall apply to food service begin-
ning with the school year one year after it shall have become law.
Plant-based diets (PBD) are those free of animal products such as meat,
seafood, dairy, and eggs. A 2016 United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) report recommended PBD as beneficial both for health
and the environment. In 2017, the American Medical Association called on
hospitals to provide a variety of healthful food including plant-based
meals alongside recommendations to eliminate processed meats from hospi-
tal menus. Doctors also prescribe PBD for patients suffering from heart
disease, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions.
Diet is a major component of child development. Providing a PBD option
upon student or parent request ensures respect for children's dietary,
religious, or ethical needs. This legislation would not mandate schools
to fully change menus for all students, but rather provide PBD for any
students who request or whose parental relations request PBD. In meeting
such requests, schools shall work with their nutrition advisory commit-
tees if the district has such committee.
2017-2018: A. 10600 referred to education
Effective immediately, and shall apply to public school food service
beginning with the school year beginning one year after it shall have
STATE OF NEW YORK
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
January 16, 2019
Introduced by M. of A. GOTTFRIED, EPSTEIN, WOERNER -- read once and
referred to the Committee on Education
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring public
schools to offer plant-based food options in food service
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 915-a
2 to read as follows:
3 § 915-a. Plant-based food options. 1. Upon request by a student or
4 person in parental relation to the student, every public school shall
5 offer the student a plant-based food option as an alternative to every
6 meal or snack offered in food service to the student. All the public
7 school's written material describing food offerings shall include the
8 availability of a plant-based food option. The plant-based food option
9 shall be offered at no additional cost to the student beyond what would
10 be charged for a comparable non-plant-based food option.
11 2. The school shall respond in a reasonable manner and time to any
12 request made under this section, consistent with guidance by school
13 authorities. The request shall be effective for every school meal or
14 snack in which the student is reasonably expected to participate. This
15 section does not preclude the offering of plant-based food options to
16 students who have not requested it, and does not preclude an individual
17 who has requested a plant-based food option from selecting a non-plant-
18 based food option.
19 3. As used in this section:
20 (a) "Plant-based food option" means food or beverages that are free of
21 animal products and, as relates to the "protein" portion of a meal,
22 recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as a meat
23 alternate for purposes of the national school lunch program.
24 (b) "Animal product" means meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey,
25 and any derivative thereof.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 1624 2
1 4. In implementing this section, the school and school authorities
2 shall consult with the school district nutrition advisory committee
3 under section nine hundred eighteen of this article, where applicable.
4 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to public
5 school food service beginning with the school year, as defined in the
6 education law, beginning one year after it shall have become a law.