Meatless Monday options may soon be coming to a corporate, government or hospital cafeteria near you. Sodexo, a North American food service provider, announced Monday the extension of its Meatless Monday initiative. Locations expected to see the meatless option include Toyota, Northern Trust Bank, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The announcement came three months after Sodexo first added the vegetarian-friendly options to more than 900 hospital cafeterias across the United States.

According to Sodexo, Meatless Monday is part of their ongoing effort to enhance healthy and wellness and to promote sustainability in the local communities where it operates.

"Providing an opportunity for eating meatless one day a week is a simple way for us to address the dietary concerns of our customers and in part advance our own environmental objectives," said Will Nicklas, Corporate Manager of Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. said in a Sodexo news release. “Meatless Monday has been successful here primarily because Sodexo helps our customers understand that it is not at all about becoming vegetarians or even weight loss, it’s about taking easy steps to guard our health and be good stewards of our environment.”

Sodexo Vice President of Sustainability and CSR, Arlin Wasserman, considers livestock to be a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, making the consumption of meat harmful to the environment.

“Plant-based food options are not only healthier, they are better for the environment," Wasserman said. “Meat production can be a significant source of carbon and water emissions. Reducing meat consumption in our diets is an easy step we can all take to lead healthier lives and contribute to a more sustainable food system.”

Drovers CattleNetwork editor Greg Henderson countered these myths, including analyzing the impact of meat and dairy consumption on global warming in a January editorial. Henderson included information from Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California-Davis.

“[Mitloehner] says cows and pigs have gotten a “bum rap.” The claims that livestock are to blame for global warming are both “scientifically inaccurate” and a dangerous distraction from more important issues,” Henderson writes.  Read more from Henderson’s “Meat avoidance cures flat feet, and other lies" editorial here.

Sodexo expects to further expand the Meatless Monday offer to colleges and schools this fall.

Across North America, Sodexo serves 10 million  consumers daily at 6,000 client sites.

Source: Sodexo, Drovers magazine