650,000 Meatless Monday Meals Being Served in Los Angeles Schools

The widely popular Meatless Monday campaign just got a boost from the nation’s second largest school district. Los Angeles’ school cafeterias are officially going meat-free on Mondays.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Unified School District has made it a requirement that all cafeterias stop serving meat on Monday. The rule went into effect last month and doesn’t prevent students from bringing in their own meat from home. It comes on the heels of a resolution by the Los Angeles City Council last November in which the city urged Angelinos to go meat-free on Mondays.

The LAUSD cafeterias serve an astonishing amount of food: more than 650,000 meals every school day. New York City is the largest school district in the U.S., with more than one million students, and the city has recently taken a stance against large-sized sugary sodas and soft drinks. Sixteen-ounce sizes or larger are essentially banned from restaurants and bodegas. And even though most schools have already moved away from offering sweetened beverages, the move aims to help decrease obesity in the city, particularly among its children.

The Meatless Monday campaign recently stirred up criticism when the USDA announced its support of the program. The agency retracted its statement in support of the campaign after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said that by supporting Meatless Mondays, the USDA was in essence, not supporting America’s animal farmers and ranchers.

Across the nation, the Meatless Monday campaign has caught on (we regularly feature a Monday roundup of meat-free recipes in its honor) as people go meat free for a number of reasons, be it for animal welfare, to decrease the risks of foodborne illness, or the biggest reasons proposed by the campaign itself: it’s better for the environment and your health.

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Image: USDA