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A Big Fight is Brewing

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Touch the Soil News #674

Have you heard of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine? Founded in 1985, it’s a non-profit group headquartered in Washington, D.C. Their membership includes 12,000 physicians and another 150,000 committed members.

The Physicians Committee filed a lawsuit on April 12, 2017 to stop California’s Los Angeles School District and Poway Unified School District from serving students processed meats – including hot dogs, pepperoni and luncheon meat. These meats are linked to colorectal cancer.

The lawsuit alleges that the serving of foods that have been linked to cancer in school lunches violates California’s Education Code. The Code mandates that school lunches must be of the highest quality and greatest nutritional value possible. Yet, processed meats are available daily on many California public school menus.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been verbally attacked by the American Medical Association in the past. However, of a much larger stature than the American Medical Association is the global World Health Association (WHO). The WHO recently released a report announcing that “processed meats are carcinogenic to humans.”

A recent study by the National Cancer Institute found that young people today have double and quadruple the risks of colon and rectal cancers, respectively, compared to those born in the 1950s, due to low-fiber diets, high consumption of processed meats, and lack of physical activity. In addition, the Physicians Committee cites the Journal of American Medicine which featured a study that found processed meat consumption was tied to 57,766 deaths from cardio metabolic diseases in 2012.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has around 735,000 students and the Poway Unified School District has around 33,000 students. The Physicians Committee sent both school districts a toolkit with information in removing processed meats from their menus with plant-based options.

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