Los Angeles County passes groundbreaking policy requiring plant-based food purchases

The new law is a momentous victory toward sustainable, compassionate food choices.

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 27, 2024) — In a groundbreaking move, Los Angeles County has enacted a pioneering law aimed at mitigating the environmental, public health, and animal welfare impacts associated with its food purchases. Spearheaded by Los Angeles County supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda Solis, the new law will combine best practices for purchasing, selling, and serving more plant-based foods. 

In a recent survey conducted on behalf of Mercy For Animals, 79% of respondents supported legislation to encourage plant-based food purchasing with taxpayer dollars, and 82.2% believed that Los Angeles County in particular should pass such legislation.

“Mercy For Animals calls for enactment and enforcement of animal protection laws and a shift to a plant-based food system,” said Mercy For Animals CEO and president Leah Garcés. “As more Americans choose plant-based food for reasons such as health, environmental protection, and animal welfare, public purchasing must reflect this shift. Mercy For Animals greatly appreciates Supervisors Horvath and Solis for sponsoring this policy change and the county’s commitment to providing healthy plant-based options to residents who benefit from county food programs. We look forward to working with LA County in implementing this policy.”

Mercy For Animals worked closely with Horvath’s office to develop the policy. The new law mandates the following:

Update of nutritional standards: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will update its nutritional standards to incorporate best practices for purchasing, selling, and serving more plant-based foods. 
Recommendations for plant-based procurement: The Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Chief Sustainability Office, the Chief Executive Office, the Internal Services Division, and the Office of Food Equity, will provide recommendations for increasing plant-based food options in the county’s food services. The county will offer recommendations for reducing animal-based food purchases and increasing plant-based ones. 
Greenhouse gas emissions tracking: The Department of Health Services will also take the first step toward collecting data for food the department purchases in an effort to estimate its greenhouse gas emissions.

This collaboration and passage of legislation is a significant victory for Mercy For Animals in its work to advocate sustainable, compassionate practices that transcend boundaries and have far-reaching effects. Mercy For Animals staff and volunteers living in the county mobilized and testified in support of the motion. Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States, so the impact of this decision is truly profound.

Notes to Editors

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Robin Goist at [email protected]

Mercy For Animals is a leading international nonprofit working to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system. Active in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States, the organization has conducted over 100 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, influenced over 500 corporate policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at The Mercy For Animals 25th Anniversary Gala to honor those who fight for compassionate alternatives to the status quo and a world where all animals are respected, protected, and free.