Cyndi's Two Cents

Litigation over meat in school lunch

Commentary.

A story, reported last week by The San Diego Union-Tribune, tells of two lawsuits filed April 12, 2017 in Superior Court, targeting lunch menus for both a Los Angeles and a San Diego school district for serving hot dogs, bacon, bologna, sausages and all other processed meats.  The group filing the suits is a poser of sorts.  Called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PRCM), a very small percentage of the activist group’s membership truly have medical degrees.  PRCM aggressively promotes an anti-meat and anti-dairy vegan lifestyle.   While surfing the group’s website archives, I found positive references to the radical animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.)

The group is asking the court to ban “cured and otherwise modified sources of animal protein” from the school’s meals.  PRCM claims these foods violate the state education code’s requirement that all school foods served to students be of the “highest quality” and “greatest nutritional value possible.”

Although there are non-processed/modified meat options on the menu, PCRM isn’t backing down.  Finding people within the school districts who align with the activist group’s convictions boosted its confidence in filing suit and gave it names to put on the lawsuits.

Apropos comments regarding food phobias came during a speech in Lincoln, Nebraska last week when former California agriculture secretary A.G. Kawamura said there’s a “grow food, go to jail” mentality in his state.  This despite the fact that agriculture is a huge economic generator in the golden state. Agriculture is nearly a $37.5 million industry, generating $100 billion in related economic activity.

California is second only to Texas in the production of livestock and livestock products.  It leads all of the other states in farm income. About 73% of the state’s agricultural revenues come from crops while the other 27% of revenues are generated by livestock commodities.

In terms of revenue generated, California’s top five agricultural products are dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, grapes, almonds, and cattle and calves.

We shake our heads and roll our eyes when we hear stories about how people on the west coast appear to readily accept the misinformation spewed by animal rights groups and extreme environmentalists.  We scoff at their ignorance.  An incredulous collective gasp emanates from the rural Midwest each time we hear stories like this one. However, if we stop and take a serious look around at friends, family and acquaintances, we will find several who believe at a least a little bit of the pseudo-science spewed by anti-agriculture groups.  An acquaintance on Facebook last week announced that she had been meat-free for 3 days.  Her reason, she answered when asked, is for her health.

There are a lot of people living in our rural communities – farm communities – who are just as gullible to misinformation as those left coast people we’ve been known to ridicule.  Instead of making fun and rolling our eyes, perhaps we should put them in contact with more balanced sources in determining the dangers – and benefits – of various foods.

 

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