elisabeth Elisabeth Fall/UCSF
REAL certification criteria range from areas like the use of vegetables, fruits and whole grains to maintaining sustainable practices for food sourcing.

UCSF Med Center first in healthcare to be REAL certified

The designation validates the dining operation’s commitment to sustainability and wellness.

The nutrition and foodservices operation at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSFMC) has become the first healthcare organization to be REAL Certified by the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC ) for its use of nutrition and sustainability best practices.

REAL certification is achieved by meeting specific thresholds in areas like the utilization of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthful preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, behavioral components that encourage better-for-you choices and sustainable practices for food sourcing.

The department at UCSFMC has received numerous accolades for the quality of its program, including an FM Best Concept Awards Best of Show designation in 2015. It operates patient dining, retail food outlets, inpatient and outpatient nutrition services, catering/conference services and gift shops on the campus, including the 450-bed main hospital and the recently opened 296-bed Mission Bay facility, and serves more than 8,000 customers daily.

Among components of the program that accord with REAL principles are the Smart Choice Smart U. wellness aid that melds café offerings with the MyFitnessPal app through simple bar code scans, retail dining concepts like Sutro, which offers scratch-made soups and the elimination of sugared beverages from all campus dining operations. UCSFMC is also a leader among Bay Area institutions in purchasing product from local suppliers.

“As an active participant in the national culinary arts, nutrition and food movements, our food-services team at UCSF strives to develop customer friendly solutions to today’s most pressing social and environmental concerns, such as obesity, diabetes and rising healthcare costs,” said

Director Dan Henroid in a statement announcing the certification award. “The REAL Certification provides an excellent framework for acknowledging and verifying the advances we are making in sourcing and producing the food we serve at UCSF.”

REAL certification is achieved by undergoing an audit conducted by third-party registered dietitians using a points-based REAL Index to verify compliance across a range of sustainability and wellness related criteria, and only those operations that satisfy the rigorous requirements are awarded the certification.

“UCSF is a champion for setting new standards in healthcare foodservice and offers a range of innovations that demonstrate excellence in delivering REAL, whole fresh food that is nutritious and sustainable,” said USHFC CEO Lawrence Williams in announcing the certification award to UCSFMC.

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