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Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care July-Sept 2012 Newsletter

Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care
July-September 2012 Newsletter

HFHC Updates

Oregon Hospitals Tour Regional Meat & Poultry Processing Facilities 

Hospitals in Oregon have long been interested in purchasing and serving regionally and sustainably produced poultry. Getting access to that type of product at a price that is reasonably within budgets has been the main barrier to making the shift in this product category. The Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup has been exploring different ideas to aggregate the demand for the product from numerous hospitals and find producers and processors that can provide poultry that was produced in Oregon without the routine use of antibiotics and in the most sustainable manner possible.

Antibiotics in Agriculture

Antibiotics are commonly used in food animal production to promote growth and prevent disease (rather than treat it) which spreads rapidly through confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). According to the Food and Drug Administration, 80% of all antibiotics used in the United States are used in animal agriculture. This overuse is a significant contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans, a major concern of the medical community.

 To get a sense of what and how much poultry hospitals are purchasing, Workgroup participants provided information on product specifications and distribution preferences through a survey. Having this information enables hospitals to approach producers/processors with a clear sense of how much product would be needed to meet the demand of a larger group and an idea of the size and cut of poultry products that hospitals commonly use.

Wanting to know more about the type of product and processor that may be able to meet their needs, hospitals met with and toured two meat and poultry processing facilities.

In March hospitals traveled to NE Portland to tour Fulton Provisions, a meat processing facility owned by Sysco. While not currently processing any poultry, they do distribute Draper Valley chicken through Sysco. Since many hospitals currently have Sysco as a vendor, accessing product through this avenue would be relatively easy if cost was reasonable. All Draper Valley chicken is produced without the use of antibiotics and they have an organic line of chicken as well. The chicken is produced mostly in Washington and Oregon, with headquarters in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Continuing on with the exploration of regional meat processors, this June three hospital travelled to Dayton, Oregon to learn more about a small regional meat and poultry processing facility. Dayton Natural Meats, owned by Pacific Natural Foods, slaughters and processes poultry, beef and pork from farms within a 50 mile radius of their facility. All of the poultry they process is organic (which also means they are never given antibiotics) and hold the third-party certification of Animal Welfare Approved. While most of the meat and poultry that Dayton Natural Meats is processing is being used by their parent company, they may be expanding to retail and food service options in the future.

The Workgroup is gathering information from the survey and tours to inform them on options for proceeding with sustainable poultry procurement and will continue to discuss ideas at future meetings. If you would like to learn more about this please contact Gretchen Miller or come to the next Workgroup meeting on July 18th from 1:30-3:00PM.

Calling All Hospital Chefs! Oregon Hospital Green Chef Challenge and Organicology Join Forces

Riding on the success of last September's inaugural Oregon Hospital Green Chef Challenge, the Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care team is gearing up to jump back in the fun and plan the next event. For the second Challenge we are excited to be joining forces with Organicology, a renowned organic and sustainable food and farming educational conference taking place February 7th-9th, 2013. Teaming up with this large regional conference will allow us to more easily coordinate the logistics while at the same time pulling in a much larger crowd to watch the fun.

 The Challenge will take place at 5PM February 7th following a half-day workshop on institutional procurement. With attendees from this workshop and from the rest of the conference we hope to have 300 individuals present to witness the sustainability, nutrition and creativity hospital chefs put into the meals they create for their patients, staff and visitors! So chefs, sharpen your knives and get your recipe hats on because you will soon be receiving and invitation to participate in the 2nd Oregon Hospital Green Chef Challenge. 

Greening Health Care – The Healthier Hospitals Initiative

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is a national campaign developed by Health Care Without Harm (and the Healthy Food in Health Care Program), the Center for Health Design, Practice Greenhealth and 11 sponsoring health systems.  The goal is to engage health care facilities to commit to and track progress toward achievement in 6 critical areas of sustainability in health care, over a 3 year period.  The 6 key challenges are to: Engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability; Serve healthier foods; Reduce energy use; Reduce waste; Use safer chemicals.  Enrollment is free and participants will receive materials and resources as well as tracking support over the 3 year period of the initiative for the Challenges that they choose to pursue.   

 The Healthy Food Challenge includes 3 goals with the option of doing one, two or all three. Goals: 1) Reducing Meat, 2) Increasing Healthy Beverages and 3) Increasing Local and Sustainable Purchasing. Participating in the Food Challenge of HHI will enable your hospital or health system to focus on and track measurable impact in specific areas of your healthy food work. The Challenges have been set up to give credit for work already done by allowing facilities to establish their baselines when the work on that goal actually began. By participating, you can bring national attention to the important work that you are doing, as well as develop models for replication and evidence of the positive impact health care can make on building healthy and sustainable food environments and systems.

If you have questions or would like to learn more please contact Emma Sirois or Gretchen Miller. More information is also available at 


Tools and Resources

Consumer Reports’ Meat on Drugs. A report discussing the overuse of antibiotics in food animals and what consumers can do to stop it.

 National Resources Defense Council’s Raising Resistance: Feeding Antibiotics to Healthy Food Animals Breeds Bacteria Harmful to Human Health. A factsheet developed by the NRDC explaining the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, the problems it causes, and steps you can take to reduce effects on you and the environment.

Action Alert

Ask the FDA to Comply with Recent Rulings on Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture

Rulings by a federal court in March and June of 2012 directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out withdrawal proceedings for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed and to evaluate the safety of using other medically important antibiotics in food animal production. These are important steps towards improving the health of our food system and protecting human health. We believe the FDA should move ahead with this process and not replace enforceable limitations on antibiotic use with voluntary guidance.

We would like to send a strong, unified message from the healthcare sector which demonstrates our concern that 80% of the antibiotics used in this country are used in food animal production and that the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is increasing. There is now a definitive scientific link between the routine, non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics on industrial farms and the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans. In 2002, the CDC reported that 99,000 people died in this country of hospital-acquired infections. Of those deaths, a vast majority were caused by antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

We urge you to sign on to a letter which asks the FDA to comply with the recent rulings. The healthcare sector has been at the forefront of institutional procurement of healthier foods in the past five years, and the elimination of the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in meat production is an important step in protecting the effectiveness of medicines so critical to preserving human health. Please click on the appropriate link below before July 11 to join us in asking the FDA to do its part:

To sign on as a hospital or health care system, click here:

To sign on as a clinical professional, click here:


Visualizing a nation of meat eaters. Meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That's because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport.

Farmworkers plagued by pesticides and red tape. Pesticides can endanger U.S. farmworkers, but thin layers of government protect them and no one knows the full scope of the environmental perils in the fields. The Environmental Protection Agency administers a protection standard, but the agency does not track pesticide exposure incidents nationwide.

Going hog wild: Weaning antibiotic-resistant bugs out of pork. After nearly succumbing to an antibiotic-resistant infection contracted from one of his hogs, Russ Kremer went cold turkey. He swore off the antibiotics he'd long-used to boost his herd's growth and prevent the illnesses so common in concentrated animal feeding operations.

Assessing consumer concerns about the meat industry. Tom Philpott, who covers food and the agricultural industry for Mother Jones, raises concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy - mad cow disease - infiltrating the food chain.

Has ‘organic’ been oversized? Organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store. The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.

Congress's big gift to Monsanto. If you want your crops to bear fruit, you have to feed the soil. Few industries understand that old farming truism better than ag-biotech—the few companies that dominate the market for genetically modified seeds and other novel farming technologies. And they realize that the same wisdom applies to getting what you want in Washington, DC.

Upcoming Events

12th - Healthy Food in Health Care Webinar Series - Implementing Healthy Beverage Policies at Hospitals- 12:00-1:00PM (Webinar - Registration Required)
Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup Meeting – 1:30-3:00PM (Portland, Oregon – Shriners Hospital for Children)

14th - Friends of Family Farmers
InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)

11th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)
13th -  Healthy Food in Health Care Webinar Series - Sustainable Procurement - 12:00-1:00PM (Webinar - Registration Required)
19th Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup Meeting – 1:30-3:00PM (Portland, Oregon – TBA)