Health Benefits of Local Clean Food

July 29, 2008 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

The 2008 report of Healthy Food in Health Care states that as of 2004, about 60,000 Americans die annually from resistant infections and 70 percent of the antibiotics consumed in America are from feed additives for poultry, swine and beef cattle. Robyn C. Gilden, a nurse and program manager at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said the antibiotics aren’t used to keep the animals healthy but to make them grow faster and live closer together so farmers can squeeze more animals onto their property. Gilden is also a Carroll County resident and member of the county’s Environmental Advisory Council. She said people are becoming resistant to lifesaving drugs because they are getting high doses in their foods.

The milk the hospital uses comes from a dairy in Frederick and is rBGH free. RBGH stands for Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, which is given to dairy cows to increase their production of milk. But the hormone is known to lead to health problems in the cows, which leads to a heavier use of antibiotics, according to Health Care Without Harm, the organization that created the health-care pledge.

Aside from the use of chemicals in food, Cotter said there is a real benefit to using local foods, because of transportation costs and the freshness of the product.” (see the full article below)

Another reason to go for chemical free or better yet “true” organic local foods (I’m not talking about the processed organic stuff in boxes). Reminds me of Kim and Dave Perry’s Local Family Farms store out in Verona, Ontario (or Perry-Anjou Farms) – they sell chemical, hormone free beef – some of the finest meat around by all accounts (I savoured their beef vicariously through my other carnivorous friends).

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Healthy Pledge: Carroll Hospital Center to use more locally produced food
 
By Erica Kritt, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Carroll County Times – Westminster,MD,USA

http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/articles/2008/07/02/news/local_news/newsstory1.txt
 
During the week of July 19, Marylanders are encouraged to buy local food, but the Maryland Hospitals for a Healthier Environment Initiative challenges the state’s hospitals to buy locally as much as possible.

The initiative, which is coordinated by the University of Maryland School of Nursing, wants hospitals to provide healthy, local and sustainably produced foods.

Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, which serves about 1,500 meals each day, jumped on board in April 2007 as the second hospital in Maryland to sign up for The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge.

By signing the pledge, the hospital promises to increase the offering of fruit and vegetables, use more local and organic food and minimize waste by using products and packaging that are friendly to the environment, among other goals.

“We’ve always supported local purchasing, because of being a small county hospital,” said Marcea Cotter, director of food and environmental services at Carroll Hospital Center.

The hospital has been receiving shipments of meat from Bullock’s Country Meats and Farm Market Inc. in Westminster since 1962, according to former owner Bob Bullock.

Clyde Hirt and Doug Zepp, the current owners of Bullock’s Meats, said their company delivers on average 100 pounds of red meat a week to the hospital.

Since Carroll Hospital Center had been buying foods locally for years, Cotter thought it was only appropriate to sign the pledge.

The Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Initiative hosted an event Tuesday at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore to honor the four hospitals that have signed the pledge and to encourage more hospitals to follow suit.
 
The other three hospitals are Sinai Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center.

According to Cotter, Carroll Hospital Center is working on some greener initiatives, such as encouraging the use of mugs instead of disposable cups at the coffee bars and looking into recycling plastic bottles.

Cotter said about 60 percent of the hospital’s beef comes from Bullock’s, and according to Bullock, the company does not use antibiotics or hormones on their cows.

“I like the original [product] without anything being doctored up,” he said.

The 2008 report of Healthy Food in Health Care states that as of 2004, about 60,000 Americans die annually from resistant infections and 70 percent of the antibiotics consumed in America are from feed additives for poultry, swine and beef cattle. Robyn C. Gilden, a nurse and program manager at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said the antibiotics aren’t used to keep the animals healthy but to make them grow faster and live closer together so farmers can squeeze more animals onto their property. Gilden is also a Carroll County resident and member of the county’s Environmental Advisory Council. She said people are becoming resistant to lifesaving drugs because they are getting high doses in their foods.

The milk the hospital uses comes from a dairy in Frederick and is rBGH free. RBGH stands for Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, which is given to dairy cows to increase their production of milk. But the hormone is known to lead to health problems in the cows, which leads to a heavier use of antibiotics, according to Health Care Without Harm, the organization that created the health-care pledge.

Aside from the use of chemicals in food, Cotter said there is a real benefit to using local foods, because of transportation costs and the freshness of the product.

Lou DeMaio, executive chef at Carroll Hospital Center, said time counts when it comes to providing a nutritious meal.

“Vitamins and minerals start to diminish after [fruits and vegetables] are picked,” he said.

Steve Lentz, the district manager for Cura Hospitality, which provides the food at Mercy Medical Center, said local food doesn’t pass through as many hands, so it leads to less contamination. Citing the recent tomato salmonella scare, Lentz said by buying locally a hospital or organization knows where its food came from and whom to contact if there is a problem.

Cotter said because of the number of meals the hospital serves, it is impossible to get all of their foods from local farmers. But she said the hospital looks for opportunities to use local foods whenever possible.

Reach staff writer Erica Kritt at 410-857-7876 or erica.kritt@carrollcountytimes.com.

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