The Healthy Start scheme is a means-tested initiative offering pregnant women or parents with children under four vouchers to help buy some basic foods including milk, fruit, and vegetables from local retailers.
Currently, it only offers vouchers that can only be used to purchase cow's milk, and free supplements containing animal-derived vitamin D.
Now The Vegan Society has written a formal letter to the NHS saying the restriction imposed by the NHS on the purchase of plant milk and the lack of vegan-friendly vitamin D unfairly and unreasonably disadvantages vegans.
The letter prompts the NHS to remove the restriction on the purchase of plant milk and provide a vegan alternative to the supplement containing animal-derived vitamin D.
In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Dr. Jeanette Rowley, Vegan Rights Advocate at The Vegan Society, and solicitor Edie Bowles from Advocates for Animals said the Healthy Start Voucher Scheme is 'discriminatory without any lawful justification'.
Heather Russell, Dietitian at The Vegan Society, added: "It is important for everyone to eat calcium-rich foods daily and fortified plant milk plays an important role in vegan nutrition.
"In fact, the UK's Eatwell Guide recognises that fortified plant milk represents a valuable alternative to cow's milk. Calcium content is comparable and the soya variety is similar to cow’s milk in terms of protein quantity and quality."
Plant Based News has contacted the NHS for comment.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
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