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LA City Council Could Force Venues To Sell Vegan Food

A taco at Cena Vegan. (Courtesy of Cena Vegan via Facebook)
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Are you tired of looking for plant-based protein at concerts and football games? Paul Koretz thinks he has a solution.

The L.A. City Councilman introduced a motion on Tuesday that would require public venues to sell vegan fare.

The ordinance would require some private spaces like large-scale entertainment venues, movie theaters and sports stadiums to offer at least one "vegan protein entree food option."

It would also require L.A. World Airports, which operates LAX, to study the feasability of putting a vegan restaurant in every terminal, and of having all other restaurants in the airport offer at least one vegan protein entree.

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Koretz was inspired by the rising number of vegans in Los Angeles -- and by grim predictions about climate change.

"We only have a few years to dramatically drop our greenhouse gas production and production of beef items, especially, generates so much methane. Without reducing our beef consumption, it's going to be very difficult for us to reduce climate change," he says.

Agriculture accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, with meat and dairy making up the majority of those.

Koretz was flanked by vegan activists like Armaiti May, a veterinarian who believes making it easier for people to follow diets that require less greenhouse gas production is an important part of combating climate change.

"People need to have the ability to choose a healthy, compassionate, eco-friendly food choice wherever they go," May sys. "And with the current crisis we're experiencing with climate change, it's even more important that these vegan options be available."

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May was raised vegetarian and has been a vegan for 19 years. She says it can be challenging to find foods that work for her at public venues -- yes, even in Los Angeles.

"Basically you have to get trail mix or maybe a piece of fruit but there's not that much in terms of a hot food item," she says. "If you're hungry, you're kind of just left to fend for yourself."

Cesar Asebedo echoes those experiences, especially at LAX.

"If you're flying, you take some bars or some type of protein with you," he says, "but now it'll be awesome to be able to see it on the menu, stated and required: vegan."

That's one of Koretz's biggest hopes with this motion.

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"It makes sense from a fairness perspective, an environmental perspective, but also it makes sense in terms of marketing," he says.

While the vegans standing behind Koretz were gung-ho about the motion, the jury's still out on how the owners and managers of these venues feel about local laws requiring them to change their menus.

But Koretz says he's not worried about pushback from businesses. In fact, he thinks such legally mandated menu changes will benefit them.

"In a group, the person that's vegan decides where the whole group ends up eating," Koretz says. "So a lot of restaurants are leaving money on the table by not offering some vegan options."

A special committee (like a health committee) will hear his motion. If they pass it, they'll send it to the full city council. If a majority of the 15 councilmembers approve it, the city attorney will draft a law. It could go into effect as soon as February 2019.

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