Board Takes Action to Address Emissions Through Food Purchasing

Board Takes Action to Address Emissions Through Food Purchasing 1024 888 Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath


February 27, 2024

Los Angeles, CAToday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion to set Los Angeles County on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through its food purchasing practices. The motion was authored by Board Chair Lindsey P. Horvath and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

The OurCounty Sustainability Plan calls for the promotion of plant-based menu options given that global food system accounts for 30% of human-caused GHG emissions with animal products generating 90% more greenhouse gases than plant-based alternatives. Los Angeles County has 111 food contracts across its hospitals, facilities, schools, and institutions, presenting an opportunity to lead by example in encouraging plant-based options.

“Los Angeles County has the opportunity to overhaul outdated food policies so they match best practices today,” said Board Chair Lindsey P. Horvath. “This action will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and food waste, and expand healthy food options at County facilities—all meaningful wins as we continue to lead on sustainable practices.”

Addressing the climate crisis, requires changes in every sector. As our region’s largest employer, seemingly small adjustments in plant-based food offerings in County facilities can have a measurable impact.

Similar policies have shown success. The City of New York’s hospital system reduced both its costs and food-related carbon emissions by 36 percent and patient satisfaction of the revamped menu increased to more than 90 percent after one year of implementation.

“Los Angeles County is one of the largest contracting entities in Southern California,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “To that end, it is critical that we look at our food contracting processes and how we can incorporate alternatives that can lower our carbon footprint and reduce our contribution to global warming. Addressing greenhouse gas emissions requires both comprehensive sweeping action on a large scale, as well as collective actions locally. I’m proud that we’re in this fight and encourage others to follow suit.”

As part of the motion:

  1. The Department of Public Health will review their Nutritional Standards for Prepared Foods, Snacks and Beverages, and incorporate up to date evidence-based recommendations on purchasing, selling, and serving more plant-based and plant-forward foods for integration in County food service requests for proposals and contracts.
  2. These updates will return to the Board in 120 days with recommendations from partner departments on how to increase participation and interest, including providing incentives, and call attention to expanding plant-based food options in the County’s contract solicitation process.
  3. A review will be conducted of the County’s food purchasing carbon footprint with consideration for how to track the different types of foods the County is purchasing and recommending how the County can reduce the amount of animal products being purchased, increase plant-based food options, and reduce food waste consistent with the goals of SB 1383.
  1. A report will be conducted capturing the total amount of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and egg products and the total amount of plant-based food products measured in volume–that are currently contracted to vendors by DHS in one calendar year.



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