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Meat vs. Meatless on Capitol Hill

It looks like the first Meatless Monday held in the House of Representatives cafeteria on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 3 was also the last, reports US News & World Report. The initiative, which seeks to encourage consumers to eat more meals without animal proteins, has been incorporated by a number of onsite dining operations.

However, at the highly politicized Capitol Hill venue, it ran into opposition from meat producers, who sent a letter to the House Administration Committee criticizing the motivations of its adherents. Given that meat producers represent a strong constituency in the farm belt states, the message was sure to resonate with lawmakers. A previous stab at incorporating Meatless Mondays into government cafeterias—this time at the USDA—met with a similar fate.

The meat producers argue that they produce a legal and widely used line of products that is denigrated, at least implicitly, by the Meatless Monday message, and that government workers should be free to choose what they want to eat without being subjected to limitations or political messages from outside parties. (It's unclear whether the Meatless Monday program at the Capitol Hill cafeteria removed all meat based dishes from the menu on that day or only emphasized the meatless options: Meatless Monday initiatives at other onsite venues have adopted both approaches based on individual preference.)

Restaurant Associates is the foodservice management company caught in the middle of this political fight because it is responsible for operating the House of Representatives cafe.

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