New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1146-2019    Version: * Name: DOE to provide dairy-free options for all student meals.
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Education
On agenda: 10/30/2019
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York City Department of Education to provide dairy-free options for all student meals.
Sponsors: James G. Van Bramer, Ben Kallos
Council Member Sponsors: 2
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 1146, 2. October 30, 2019 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 10-30-19, 4. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - October 30, 2019

Res. No. 1146

 

Resolution calling upon the New York City Department of Education to provide dairy-free options for all student meals.

 

By Council Members Van Bramer and Kallos

 

Whereas, The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is the largest public school system in the United States (U.S.) with approximately 1.1 million students; and

Whereas, DOE’s Office of Food & Nutrition Services (OFNS) serves around 940,000 meals to these students each school day, and all meals are provided at no charge to the students or their parents; and

Whereas, In recent years, OFNS has taken a number of steps to improve the health and nutrition of school meals, such as eliminating artificial colors and flavors, non-nutritious sweeteners, and preservatives; and

Whereas, Further, effective July 1, 2019, OFNS will no longer offer certain processed meats on school menus, including salami, bologna and "turkey ham"; and

Whereas, OFNS has also created some vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus, to provide vegetarian options for students who prefer them, including full vegetarian lunch menus for elementary and Kindergarten through 8th grade schools; and

Whereas, However, while some of their individual menu items do not contain dairy products, OFNS does not list any dairy-free menu options; and

Whereas, Rather, DOE offers lactose-free milk to students who submit a doctor’s note to the school nurse stating that the student is lactose intolerant; and

Whereas, Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem that occurs when the body does not have enough lactase, an enzyme that is necessary to digest lactose - the natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products - which can produce abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea; and

Whereas, According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, although prevalence varies among different populations globally; and

Whereas, In addition to addressing potential student health issues, providing dairy-free menu options will benefit the environment; and

Whereas, Milk and dairy production impacts the environment in various ways; and

Whereas, According to the World Wildlife Fund, dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change; and

Whereas, Additionally, poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources; and

Whereas, Further, unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands, and forests; and

Whereas, In fact, avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce one’s environmental impact on the planet, according to recent research reported in the February 2019 issue of the journal Science; and

Whereas, To safeguard students’ health, as well as promote environmental sustainability and combat climate change; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York City Department of Education to provide dairy-free options for all student meals.

LS# 10403

JA

10/16/19