J03971 Summary:

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J03971 Actions:

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J03971 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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J03971 Memo:

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J03971 Text:

Senate Resolution No. 3971
        ENCOURAGING  local  school  districts  to  provide
        optional vegetarian  school  entrees  and  encourage
        nutrition  education  materials  and  instruction to
        include information about healthy multi-cultural and
        vegetarian eating options
  WHEREAS, The American Academy of  Pediatrics,  the  American  Cancer
Society,  the American Heart Association, and the National Institutes of
Health make the following  recommendations  in  their  "Unified  Dietary
Guidelines":  choose  most  of  what  you  eat from plant sources; eat a
variety of foods; eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each
day; eat six or more servings of bread, pasta, and  cereal  grains  each
day; eat high-fat foods sparingly, especially those from animal sources;
keep  your  intake  of  simple  sugars  to  a  minimum; the USDA Dietary
Guidelines for Americans agree with these statements; and
  WHEREAS, Recent studies indicate that about  one-half  of  New  York
City  children  and more than one-quarter of New York State children are
overweight or obese and New York State children have  a  higher  obesity
rate  than  the  national  average,  and therefore are at higher risk of
developing health problems, including heart disease,  diabetes,  asthma,
and cancer; and
  WHEREAS, Diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
are  generally lower in fat and calories than other foods and contain no
cholesterol, and promote good health  because  they  contain  fiber  and
essential  nutrients,  including  vitamins  and  minerals, and they also
contain  phytochemicals  and  antioxidants   that   provide   additional
protection  to  reduce  the risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease,
obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diet  related  chronic
diseases; and
  WHEREAS,  A significant percentage of all children, especially those
from minority populations, are considered  "at  risk"  for  diet-related
degenerative diseases; and
  WHEREAS,  All  children  will benefit by having access to vegetarian
(vegan) options; and
  WHEREAS, A  growing  number  of  New  York  school  children  either
identify  themselves  as  vegetarian  or  vegan, come from vegetarian or
vegan families, or come from families who avoid meat and dairy foods for
religious, health or ethical reasons and may not have access  to  school
meal entrees that meet their requirements; and
  WHEREAS,  Exposure of plant-centered entrees in the school cafeteria
will positively influence children; and
  WHEREAS, The American Dietetic Association 2003  Position  Paper  on
Vegetarian  Diets  states  that  "well-planned  vegan and other types of
vegetarian diets are appropriate for  all  stages  of  the  life  cycle,
including   during   pregnancy,   lactation,   infancy,  childhood,  and
adolescence; vegetarian diets offer a number  of  nutritional  benefits,
including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein
as  well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium,
folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and  E  and  phytochemicals;
vegetarians  have  been  reported  to  have  lower  body mass index than
nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates  of  death  from  ischemic  heart
disease;  vegetarians  also  show  lower blood cholesterol levels, lower
blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type  2  diabetes,  and
prostate  and  colon  cancer;  although a number of federally funded and
institutional feeding programs can  accommodate  vegetarians,  few  have
foods suitable for vegans at this time"; and
  WHEREAS,  The  New  York  State  Department of Health is striving to
increase public awareness of the  importance  of  eating  five  or  more
servings of fruits and vegetables a day with studies indicating the vast
majority  of  children  do  not  eat the recommended daily allowance for
these foods; and
  WHEREAS,  Increased  consumption  of  locally   grown   fruits   and
vegetables  promotes  New  York  State  agriculture  and  a  sustainable
environment; and
  WHEREAS, Children may  purchase  a  la  carte  foods  or  foods  and
beverages  from  vending machines, and can not choose healthy vegetarian
(vegan) options if they are not made available; and
  WHEREAS, Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are available
through  the  USDA  commodities  program  but   are   underutilized   or
unavailable to many schools; and
  WHEREAS,  Research has shown that children will choose healthy items
when nutrition education is provided, at a much higher rate  than  those
who do not have such education; and
  WHEREAS,  The  USDA  has made available a school lunch menu planning
system called "Nutrient Standard Menu Planning," which does not  require
a  meat  component,  and  which  is  based  on the recognition that most
nutrients may be obtained  from  a  variety  of  foods  and  allows  for
significantly greater flexibility in menu planning; and
  WHEREAS,  The USDA's "Food Based" menu planning system requires that
children choose three  of  five  components,  including:  meat  or  meat
alternate  (which  can  include  beans  and  nuts), grain, two fruits or
vegetables, and milk, and therefore, does not exclude vegetarian (vegan)
entrees; and
  WHEREAS, The USDA 1995 School Meals Initiative suggests that  school
food programs, in order to provide variety and encourage consumption and
participation should, whenever possible, offer a selection of menu items
and foods from which pupils may make choices; and
  WHEREAS, The USDA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,
or religion; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED,  That  this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
encourage local school districts, with the support  of  the  appropriate
state  agencies,  including  the state departments of Education, Health,
Agriculture and Markets, and the Office of General Services, to  provide
nutritionally  sound  school  lunch  menu  plans  that  would  allow for
appetizing  daily  optional  plant-centered  vegetarian  (vegan)  school
entrees, in such a way that pupils who need to or desire to avoid dairy,
egg  and  meat  products,  are assured nutritionally balanced diets, and
these  menu  plans  are  phased  in  over a period of approximately four
years; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That the optional plant-centered vegetarian (vegan) school
entrees be developed and provided with a similar standard  for  variety,
cycle  of  repeat, and availability as meat and dairy options; and be it
  RESOLVED, That schools are encouraged to participate in the New York
State farm-to-school  program  by  purchasing  foods  from  local  farms
including organic where possible; and be it further
  RESOLVED,  That  the  Office  of General Services should request the
USDA to make available a greater variety of fresh  and  frozen  produce,
legumes,  whole  grains, nuts and seeds through the commodities program;
and be it further
  RESOLVED, That schools be encouraged to provide  healthy  vegetarian
(vegan)  high nutrient, low calorie options in vending machines and as a
la carte items and  encourage  children  to  choose  them  and  work  to
eliminate,  in a manner that does not negatively impact staffing, sodas,
candies, deep fried snack foods, and other snacks and beverages that are
low nutrient, and high in fat, sugar or sodium; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That copies of  this  Resolution  be  transmitted  to  the
Commissioner  of  the  State  Education  Department  for distribution to
school food service directors, and to the Executive Director of the  New
York State School Food Service Association.
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