Joining Health Care Without Harm and more than 350 hospitals across the country, these leading California health care facilities are celebrating Food Day by sending a clear message: Antibiotics should be saved for sick people, not given to healthy animals to promote faster growth or to compensate for unsanitary factory farm conditions.
A recent report from the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 85 percent of doctors surveyed had diagnosed one or more of their patients with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection within the past year and that 93 percent of doctors are concerned with the use antibiotics in livestock production facilities for animals that are not sick.
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.” These superbugs are responsible for 23,000 deaths each year, eight million hospital stays, and $55 billion in health costs and lost productivity.
On Food Day alone, participating hospitals nationwide will collectively spend $146,345 on 16,600 pounds of chicken, 10,000 pounds of beef, and 5,000 pounds of pork and other meats that are raised without these unnecessary antibiotics. In California, hospitals will spend $19,156 on over 3,300 pounds of meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics.
Many hospitals participating in Food Day regularly include meat raised without routine antibiotics in patient meals and cafeterias offerings, and if amplified over the course of a year, this could represent more than 46 million meals and $53 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.”
“Hospitals need to drive market and policy changes that protect antibiotics and prevent their overuse in animal agriculture,” said Gary Cohen, president and co-founder of Health Care Without Harm. “If every hospital in the country committed to serving meat raised without antibiotics year-round, we’re looking at over 750 million meals served and $868 million spent on healthy, sustainably raised meat just in the health care sector alone. Imagine what that could do to protect antibiotics and the future of our health care system.”
Posted by Rachel Allan