Washington DC-based vegan advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)—in collaboration with several Southern California residents, including a Los Angeles school teacher—recently filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Poway Unified School District. In the suit, PCRM cites that the school districts are violating the National School Lunch Act—which states, in part, that school lunches must be “of the highest quality” and “greatest nutritional value possible”—by feeding children processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats. “Processed meats make up a safe and nutritious part of a balanced diet, and there is no scientific data to support removing them from school menus for being unhealthy,” American Association of Meat Processors’ Executive Director Chris Young said in response to the suit. As a result of countless scientific studies that have linked the consumption of animal products (including processed meat) to an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, in 2015, the World Health Organization reclassified processed meats into the same class of carcinogens as cigarettes. “A generation ago, America tackled tobacco. It took time and a lot of arm-twisting, but eventually cigarettes were banned from airports, restaurants, hospitals, and even the teachers’ lounge in every school in the country,” PCRM founder Neal Barnard, MD said. “Today, the issue is food.”
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