NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed two executive orders Thursday signaling his administration's commitment to procuring, preparing, and serving healthy and nutritious food citywide.
The orders were signed at the Mercy Center Bronx, an emergency food pantry, and further underscore what Adams calls a commitment to food justice and to reducing diet-related health inequities and disease outcomes.
"If we want to encourage New Yorkers to be healthier, the city must set the tone," Adams said. "The executive orders we are signing today build on the progress we have made to better align our policies with our public health priorities, and show that New York City continues to lead the nation on food policy that centers equity and justice."
The first, the Commitment to Health and Nutrition: Food Standards and Good Food Purchasing, repeals a previous executive order that set forth standards for meals served by city agencies.
It will task the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor's Office of Food Policy with revising the City Agency Food Standards, which will be circulated to agency heads on April 1, 2022, and every three years after that.
The order also formalizes the city's commitment to the Good Food Purchasing principles through transparency about how mayoral agencies' procurements impact core values relating to local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition affecting the health of all New Yorkers.
The other order, Promotion of Healthy Foods in City Publications and Advertising on City Property, requires that all promotional materials put out by agencies and advertisements on city property regarding food - to the extent practicable - feature healthy food.
Both orders build on the mayor's food policy agenda, including the recent introduction of vegan options in all public schools and six new plant-based lifestyle medicine clinics in NYC Health + Hospital throughout the city.
Also announced at the event was the publication of the Department of Social Services' new Food Distribution Program procurement, which will include fresh fruits and vegetables for the first time in the 30-year history of the program.
Established in 1983, Emergency Food Assistance Program purchases and distributes food items to more than 600 food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs.
As a part of the city's response to the COVID-19 emergency, the department also began to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables through a parallel program, known as Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution.
This procurement will streamline these efforts to ensure the safe, consistent, and reliable supply of nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food to emergency food providers across the city, and direct public dollars to vendors that reflect the administration's values of equity, public health, and minimizing environmental impact.
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