The Societal Ramifications & Consequences of the Making and Taking of Food

This site dedicated to the matters of food above and beyond the mere satiation of flavors on one's palette; but rather the ramifications to society from the consequences of how its' production, distribution, and nutrition affect living systems. How we sow, reap, harvest, legislate and base our economic systems on food is key to how we ultimately treat each other and the Earth.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge

The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge

In healthcare facilities across the continent there is a growing recognition that the food system - how our food is produced and distributed - is misaligned with dietary guidelines and that hidden behind these nutritional imbalances, is a food system largely reliant on methods of production and distribution that impact public and environmental health.

And far and wide, we are seeing a response. Hospitals that have removed their deep fryers, others that have established farmers markets, and other that are buying fresh, local sustainably grown produce and eliminating processed foods. Healthcare organizations are implementing policies and programs, in stepwise fashion, which demonstrate a commitment to “first, do no harm" and treating food and its production and distribution as preventive medicine that protects the health of patients, staff, and communities.

By supporting the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge facilities are demonstrating leadership by sending an important signal to the marketplace and policy makers about their interest in local, nutritious, sustainable food and importantly, beginning to model healthy food practices in a ongoing stepwise fashion.

To support the pledge simply download the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge (pdf) and follow the attached instructions. Pledged facilities will be regularly added to our website. To learn about the ongoing efforts of our current pledge facilities, read our 2008 report Menu of Change, Healthy Food in Health Care: A 2008 Survey of Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge Hospitals.

The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge

We pledge to:

Work with local farmers, community-based organizations and food suppliers to increase the availability of locally-sourced food.

Encourage our vendors and/or food management companies to supply us with food that is, among other attributes, produced without synthetic pesticides and hormones or antibiotics given to animals in the absence of diagnosed disease and which supports farmer health and welfare, and ecologically protective and restorative agriculture.

Implement a stepwise program to identify and adopt sustainable food procurement. Begin where fewer barriers exist and immediate steps can be taken. For example, the adoption of rBGH free milk, fair trade coffee, or introduction of organic fresh fruit in the cafeteria

Communicate to our Group Purchasing Organizations our interest in foods that are identified as local and certified.

Educate and communicate within on our system and to our patients and community about our nutritious, socially just and ecological sustainable food healthy food practices and procedures.

Minimize or beneficially reuse food waste and support the use of food packaging and products which are ecologically protective.

Develop a program to promote and source from producers and processors which uphold the dignity of family, farmers, workers and their communities and support sustainable and humane agriculture systems.

Report annually on implementation of this Pledge.

Healthy Food in Health Care
Food Service Contractor Pledge
(Download pledge as a PDF)

As a responsible provider of food and nutrition services in the healthcare industry, we are committed to the health of patients, residents, visitors, staff and the local and global community. We are aware that food production and distribution methods can have tremendous adverse impacts on public environmental health. As a result, we recognize that for the consumers who eat it, the workers who produce it and the ecosystems that sustain us, healthy food must be defined not only by nutritional quality, but equally by a food system that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and supportive of human dignity and justice. We are committed to the goal of providing local, nutritious and sustainable food and food services.

Specifically, we are committed to supporting the following healthy food in healthcare

In our Client facilities that have taken the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge we will:

Support stepwise implementation of the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge.

Develop and provide an annual report to our client hospitals on progress towards their Pledge goals.

As a Food Service Organization we will:

Encourage our vendors to supply us with food that is locally sourced whenever possible and among other attributes, produced without genetic modification, synthetic pesticides or herbicides; meat and dairy products from animals that have not been given hormones (i.e. rBGH) or antibiotics in the absence of diagnosed disease, and produced and distributed in ways which support farmer health and welfare.

Communicate to our supply chain our interest in foods whose source and production practices (i.e. genetic modification, antibiotic and hormone use, pesticide use, etc) are identified, so that we may have informed consent and choice about the foods we purchase.

Inform our suppliers and our distributors of our need for product catalogues and programs which identify third party certified eco-labeled products (i.e. Certified Organic, Food Alliance Certified, Certified Humane, etc.), country, state or farm of origin, genetically modified foods, as well as trans fats and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) content and other indicators of nutrition and sustainability.

Train and educate our staff throughout our organization, on the relationship between food production and distribution and ecological and individual health.

Increase our offerings of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nutritionally dense and minimally processed, unrefined foods, and reduce our use of processed foods.

Support new and existing value chains that promote local ownership, environmental stewardship and economic sustainability for all members of the value chain.

Create seasonal menus to increase our use of fresh, locally produced food.

Establish systems to minimize food waste and to compost and otherwise beneficially reuse food waste.

Purchase for the environment through purchasing policies and practices that minimize the inherent toxicity of our equipment and supplies; which conserve water and energy; and reduce and eliminate waste.

Develop or adopt reporting tools and benchmarks to track and measure our use of third party certified eco-labeled foods, genetically engineered foods, and other preferred attributes as listed above.

Report annually to the public or shareholders on implementation of this