University Hospital and American Family Children's Hospital Serve 95% Antibiotic-Free Meat; Receives Circle of Excellence Award
Madison, Wisconsin - As Earth Day 2019 approaches, UW Health celebrates a sustainability milestone: 95% of the meat served at University Hospital and American Family Children's Hospital is antibiotic-free.
UW Health received a Circle of Excellence in Food Award from Practice Greenhealth, ranking it in the top 10 of all health systems for local, sustainable foods, including antibiotic-free meat.
Practice Greenhealth is a nonprofit organization that works with the health care sector to find environmental solutions for safer, greener workplaces.
Antibiotic-free meat comes from healthy farm animals raised without the routine use of antibiotics. (There is a need for antibiotics when the animals are sick.) Reducing the use of antibiotics is important because heavy use of such medications in animals is directly tied to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans.
The University Hospital cafeteria serves approximately 2.4 million meals a year to patients, staff and visitors. Food-services leaders began the journey to serve antibiotic-free meat two years ago.
"There is a food component to sustainability and research shows your diet impacts your health. So as a health care organization, we take our responsibility seriously to offer the best for our patients, staff and visitors," said Megan Waltz, director of culinary services and clinical nutrition at UW Health. "We've worked closely with local farmers and vendors to move our purchasing to healthier options without adding costs for our organization, and in some cases, even being able to lower costs."
In July 2018, UW Health made a decision to take its environmental-health commitment to the next level in pursuit of a new vision for remarkable health care. CEO Dr. Alan Kaplan, medical director of sustainability Dr. Karin Zuegge, and program director of sustainability Mary Evers Statz pledged to improve the UW Health environmental footprint in six areas: less waste, smarter purchasing, leaner energy, safer chemicals, healthier food and engaged leadership.
Earth Day is April 22 and it was started in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to raise awareness and support for environmental efforts.
Watch: Making Strides in Sustainable Food Service
Date Published: 04/18/2019