Marty Wilde, an Oregon House Representative, recently introduced House Bill 2348. Under this bill, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and prisons would add plant-based options to their menus. Additionally, the bill calls for a ban on processed meat from being served.
Included in the ban would be bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, and lunch meat.
Wilde shared with Eugine Weekly that the bill was “designed to preserve healthy, ethical choice for people in residential care and hospitals.” Under the legislation, menu items would be clearly labeled as “plant-based.” There would no additional charge for choosing plant-based options.
Critics of the bill complain that the legislation removed rights from patients to enjoy processed meats. They argued that under this bill, prisoners on death row would have more freedom to choose a last meal than terminal patients in the hospital. Because of these critiques, Wilde is working to amend the language used in the bill. The changes would allow that processed meat be made available by request.
Wilde’s hope for the bill isn’t to remove freedoms from patients of last-requests for bacon. Instead, he hopes to offer protection to patients who wish to eat a vegan or plant-based diet for religious, ethical, or health reasons. Additionally, the bill would protect vulnerable populations in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and prisons from being fed, against their choice, unhealthy options that could be detrimental to their health.
In 2015, the World Health Organization labeled processed meats as a type 1 carcinogen. Despite this, the bill is still receiving pushback from organizations and individuals across Oregon for being overly restrictive or too bureaucratic.
However, vegan and plant-based communities are thrilled and hopeful by the proposition of such a bill. A similar bill was proposed in 2019 and was rejected by the senate. Hopefully this one gains a little more traction!