On October 24, Food Day, more than 60 Morrison Healthcare hospitals will serve meals that feature meat or poultry raised without non-therapeutic antibiotics.
Joining the Health Care Without Harm organization and more than 300 other hospitals across the country, Morrison is celebrating Food Day with efforts to eliminate the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and build a healthy, sustainable food supply.
“We recognize the tremendous impact Morrison Healthcare can have on saving antibiotics for human medicine by engaging and encouraging our meat suppliers to extend their efforts on reducing non-therapeutic use of antibiotics,” says Lisa Roberson, Morrison's corporate wellness director. “We are proud supporters of this initiative and look forward to our continued collaboration and partnership with Health Care Without Harm.”
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” that 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. “Companies—like Morrison Healthcare 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 Food Day alone, participating hospitals will collectively spend $87,000 on 9,000 pounds of chicken, 6,300 pounds of beef, and 2,700 pounds of pork and other meats 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 joining 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.”