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Oregon HFHC April-June 2013 Newsletter

Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Newsletter
April-June 2013

HFHC Updates

Spring Brings Growth and Change

As our natural world wakes up from winter and we see the beginnings of spring blooming on trees, pushing its way up through the ground and lengthening our days, the Health Care Without Harm Program also finds itself going through some growth and change. First, we have a new name! To better reflect all of the work our program encompasses, we are now the Healthy Food Program. Second, we have a new project! With a generous grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture we now lead the Oregon Institutional Food Purchasing Project (learn more below). The three projects that now live under the Healthy Food Program area are the Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care, the Institutional Food Purchasing and Oregon Food Matters Projects. Please explore our newly updates webpages at the Oregon PSR website to learn more about what our program is working on: www.oregonpsr.org.

Institutional Food Buyers Alliance Kick-Off Meeting

On January 18th the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability together with the Oregon Department of Agriculture kicked off the new Institutional Food Buyers Alliance. From hospitals to schools to business campuses this new alliance is working to bring these cross-sector partners together to increase the health of our community, support the local food economy and create jobs by purchasing local and sustainable food. Alliance participation will help institutions reach these goals by:

  • Sharing best practices
  • Leveraging combined purchasing power to communicate demand for local, sustainable products
  • Developing and implementing a set of purchasing goals and guidelines, metrics, model purchasing language, and incentives that promote the purchase of sustainable, regional food.

 The Healthy Food Program received a Specialty Crop Gran from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to work with the alliance on an Institutional Food Purchasing Project. The goal of this project is to increase the amount of Oregon specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts) by five percentage points. Alliance members participating in the project will:

  • Baseline current vegetable, fruit and tree nut purchases
  • Identify 5-10 crops to target for increasing purchases from Oregon growers
  • Attend farm tours and culinary trainings
  • Track purchases of target crops and receive technical assistance to complete tracking, assess increases in local purchases, communicate as a larger group and identify local producers able to meet institutional demand

The next Alliance meeting is May 3rd from 9:30AM-11:30PM at the Food Innovation Center. Please contact Gretchen Miller for more details and if you would like to attend.

Sustainable Procurement for Institutional Food Service at Organicology

Each year the Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) Project holds an educational event on sustainable food efforts at hospitals. This year Organicology, the Northwest’s premier educational conference on all things organic, invited the HFHC Project to hold a half day session on sustainable food procurement at their three day event.  Being at such a large conference (nearly 900 in attendance), it was decided that the focus of our session would broaden from targeting hospitals to targeting any institution that serves food.

 Institutional buyers have a significant opportunity to impact the health and well-being of the environment, community members, and farmers/farm workers through the food that they purchase and serve. At this ½ day session attendees learned about the impact their purchasing decisions have on a variety of food system components; heard stories from producers and environmental and health experts explaining the impact sustainable food procurement can have from the institutional level; learned about model examples of institutional purchasers; and got connected to tools and resources that will support their sustainable procurement efforts.

Those in attendance had the great pleasure to hear from an impressive array of speakers. A special thanks to all of those who presented at this session (and in many cases traveled long distances to join us):

  • Allison Hensey, Oregon Environmental Council
  • Dr. Betty Izumi, Portland State University
  • Nicolas Amaro and Norma Escalante, N&N Amaro Produce
  • Alejandro Tecùm & Karin Pfeiffer-Hoyt, Adelante Mujeres
  • Cory Carmen, Carmen Ranch

You can learn more about the event and view the presentations at the Healthy Food Events webpage.

 

Action

Express Your Opposition to Genetically Engineered Salmon - This past December, the FDA moved closer to approving AquaBounty AquAdvantage transgenic salmon, the first genetically-engineered (GE) animal designed for human consumption, amid widespread opposition. GE salmon could pose a significant threat to native salmon populations, and the threats to human health from consuming GE salmon are unknown.

The healthcare sector can play an important role in voicing concern about this unprecedented and potentially harmful decision. On February 24, HCWH delivered the signatures of 519 hospitals and health care professionals to the FDA about GE Salmon.

Since then, the comment period has been extended by an additional 60 days. As a result, Health Care Without Harm has reopened its letter to new signatures. We will be delivering the following message to the FDA on April 25.


Articles

Health Groups Concerned About Sweeteners In Milk
A coalition of health groups -- including Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility -- is concerned about a milk industry plan to use zero-calorie sweeteners in milk.

Yes, antibiotic-resistant bugs can jump from animals to humans. For decades, the meat industry has denied any problem with its reliance on routine, everyday antibiotic use for the nation's chickens, cows, and pigs. But after analyzing the mutations of MRSA strains, researchers concluded that it had been circulating among livestock before jumping to people.

Engineered apples near approval. Any parent will tell you, it’s hard to get a kid to eat an apple that’s turned brown. So one Canadian firm is using genetic engineering to turn the browning reaction off in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples, and the resulting fruit is close to clearing the last regulatory hurdles.

Genetically modified potatoes are studied, criticized in Ireland. From his laboratory and greenhouse in a research farm outside Carlow, an Irish scientist deals daily with a disease that not only afflicts his native land but haunts it: the potato blight. Can genetic engineering beat the blight, which has become even more damaging with the arrival of new, highly aggressive strains?


Upcoming Events

April:
24th-26th
CleanMed (Boston, Massachusetts)

May:
3rd
Institutional Food Buyers Alliance – 9:30-11:30AM (Portland, Oregon – Food Innovation Center – 1207 NW Naito Pkwy)
3rd
Particles on the Wall – 6:00-8:00PM (Portland, Oregon – Ecotrust Building, 721 NW 9th Ave.)
14th - Friends of Family Farmers
InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)

June:
11th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)