Future of Hospital Food: Organic, Local, Less Meat?

Most people will agree that health care costs are out of control, especially with regard to hospitals. Most will also agree that hospital food isn't associated with being appetizing, organic, or plant-based for that matter. But the times might be a-changin':

NPR has this great piece about how reducing meat can save hospitals money and allow them to purchase more organic and local produce and meats, which is better for patients and the environment.

In 2008, four Bay Area hospitals cut down on the beef, pork, and poultry they served to patients and staff. The evaluation concluded that they reduced these purchases by 28 percent, which in a typical year would result in savings of $400,000 per hospital.

Alison Negrin, an executive chef at one of these hospitals, says, "With that difference, we could look into trying to purchase more sustainably raised meats... The meat industry and the large-scale production of meat is unhealthy for the environment and unhealthy for consumption."

Roni Neff, a researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health says the other advantage of sustainably raised meat is that it doesn't contain antibiotics. "An estimated 70 percent of the antibiotics in this country are used in non-therapeutic ways in the animal feed...This has been associated with the epidemic of antibiotic resistance that's been a major concern in hospitals."

You can check out the entire story at NPR here.

image via hospitalfood.tumblr.com

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