Processed meat has become a major concern to many people who place lots of emphasis on their diet. Such is the case with a non-profit advocacy group that has teamed up with Los Angeles Unified District teacher Jennifer Macks and two others in San Diego County.
The pro-vegan group seeks to pressure two Southern California school districts to stop serving processed meats to students. The group has been identified as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The group advocates for a vegan or plant-based diet.
The group went to the extremes of filing lawsuits against the Los Angeles and Poway, Calif. districts, alleging that the meat being served violates a state education code requirement that all food served in cafeterias must have the greatest nutritional value possible and be of the highest quality.
Poway district has about 35,000 students while LAUSD has about 665,000 students. Mark Kennedy, who is the vice president of legal affairs for the Physicians Committee made a statement emphasizing that any school that’s serving processed meat is not meeting the state standard because processed meats are carcinogens. Kennedy was speaking in an interview with the Daily News.
The group is basing the lawsuits on a 2015 finding, that was reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of over 800 studies that found that processed meats like bacon, sausage and ham are carcinogenic.
The findings were allegedly made from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer. Dr. Neal Barnard, founder and president of PCRM also contrasted the controversial issue on processed meat with how America tackled tobacco, adding that it took time and a lot of arm-twisting, but eventually cigarettes were banned from public premises. Barnard was speaking in an interview with Vice.
Barnard earned his M.D. from George Washington University. He argues for a variety of policy changes including implementing plant-based diets and ending animal-based research, adding that everybody knows we shouldn’t be serving the processed meat to children.
The group also cited a 2009 study by the National Institutes of Health that looked at half-million people and discovered that processed meat increases the risk of dying from heart disease.
The other study that the group raised was a study by the National Cancer Institute, which was released in August. It stated that children today are more than doubly at risk today for colon and rectal cancer than those growing up in the 1950s.