By Peter Olson
Wellness Committee Co-Chair / Gladman MHRC
EMBARGOED RELEASE: October 23, 2014; 09:00 a.m. EDT
GLADMAN MENTAL HEALTH REHABILITATION CENTER COMMITS TO SERVING MEAT AND POULTRY WITHOUT UNNECESSARY ANTIBIOTICS
JOINS 400+ HOSPITALS IN CELEBRATION OF THEIR COMMITMENT TO BUILDING SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS
Oakland, California — On October 24, 2014, Gladman Hospital served meals that featured poultry raised without non-therapeutic antibiotics.
Joined alongside Health Care Without Harm and more than 400 other hospitals across the country, Gladman Hospital celebrated National Food Day through its efforts to eliminate the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and build a healthy, sustainable food supply.
“At Gladman, we treat the entire person and help them in their recovery. Food is obviously a very important factor,” said Gladman Chief Administrator David Damschen. “As healers, we have an obligation to do no harm and to take the longer view of what supports health, in the individual and in the communities to which they - that is, we, belong. That’s why we’re joining in this National Food Day celebration and the sustainable practices being highlighted.”
The connection between the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture and antibiotic resistance in humans is a major concern among health experts. Four times the amount of antibiotics are used for industrial animal agriculture (29 million pounds) compared to human medicine (seven million pounds). This overuse in animals contributes to antibiotic resistant “superbugs”. These superbugs are responsible for 23,000 deaths each year, eight million hospital stays, and $55 billion in health costs and lost productivity.
“In order to solve the growing antibiotic resistance crisis in medicine we need to transform animal agriculture,” said Gary Cohen, President and Co-Founder of Health Care Without Harm. “Hospitals - like Gladman and others participating in Food Day, can lead this transformation by using their purchasing power to serve healthier food to their patients and employees as well as drive healthy, sustainable practices in the communities they serve.”
Across the country on National Food Day alone, participating hospitals collectively spent $87,000 on 9,000 pounds of chicken, 6,300 pounds of beef, and 2,700 pounds of pork and other meats that are raised without non-therapeutic antibiotics. The majority of these facilities serve these healthier options every day, and amplified over the course of a year, this represents more than 26 million meals and $32 million spent on more sustainably-raised meat and poultry.
“We’re thrilled to have so many hospitals across the country join in Food Day this year,” said Lilia Smelkova, Food Day Campaign Manager. “Conditions on large factory farms are causing significant human and environmental health problems, and this type of market-based advocacy sends a direct message to meat and poultry producers that these practices need to change.”
About Health Care Without Harm
Heath Care Without Harm works to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice.
About Food Day
National Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24th, thousands of events around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.
About the Calculations
Participating hospitals provided the estimated number of pounds of meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics to be served in cafeterias and/or patient meals on Food Day (October 24), as well as their total cost. The total number of meals was estimated using the standard meat protein serving size reported in hospitals of 4oz (raw) / 3oz (cooked). This serving is also in line with USDA MyPlate Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommendations to consume less than an average of 5.5oz of meat equivalent daily for individuals over 9 years of age.
The involvement of Gladman MHRC in celebrating National Food Day grew out of our Wellness Committee getting in touch with Health Care Without Harm. They represent a growing body of healthcare facilities looking to support more sustainable and responsible food systems, with a particular focus on the dangerous non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in meat production. National food Day is just one, eye-catching, step in our process.
Gladman’s Wellness Committee is co-chaired by Peter Olson and Daisy Slader, ADON (Assistant Director of Nursing).