Michigan hospitals celebrate Food Day by serving meat raised without the use of routine antibiotics

Health fellows learn how the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture impacts human health


Royal Oak, MI -- Nineteen Health Leaders Fellows, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, and public health professionals, from across Michigan are visiting Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak today to learn how health systems can have a positive environmental impact. The Fellow’s visit coincides with events held at Beaumont to celebrate “Food Day.” 

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is one of twenty Michigan hospitals and over 350 nationwide participating in Food Day events. This year hospitals are taking a stand against antibiotic misuse in animal agriculture by pledging to serve at least one meal containing meat or poultry raised without the routine, nontherapeutic use, of antibiotics. 

Antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture contributes to antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that threaten human health, The important antibiotics relied on for human medicine are no longer effective in fighting these resistant bacteria, which means treating basic injuries and diseases as simple as a child’s scratched knee or an ear infection can become a health emergency. Approximately 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are given to generally healthy animals for growth promotion or due to unsanitary farm conditions, meanwhile hospitals are dealing with a crisis of antibiotic resistance and the medicines that have been relied upon for decades are now failing.

“In celebration of Food Day, we are hosting an outdoor barbecue featuring antibiotic-free chicken and locally sourced grilled eggplant,” says Maureen Husek, director, Nutrition and Retail Services, Beaumont, Royal Oak. “Serving healthy and local food options to our staff and patients is a priority for us at Beaumont.”

The Beaumont event also features a special Farmers Market day and a Michigan apple giveaway to all of their staff. Hospitals participating in Food Day hope to show large meat suppliers that demand for healthier, more sustainable food options is growing if they are willing to provide it.  

The Health Fellows are visiting Beaumont to see how hospitals can affect positive environmental change by reducing their use of toxic chemicals, becoming more energy efficient, and sourcing sustainable food for their staff and patients.  The Health Leaders Fellowship program, a pilot project of the Ecology Center, addresses critical environmental health issues and trains fellows in civic engagement to create a community of like ­minded peers that can advocate for positive environmental health changes in the health care setting and in the public policy arena.  

"As trusted spokespeople for institutional and policy change, health professionals are uniquely positioned to tackle some of the most pressing environmental health challenges,” says Rebecca Meuninck, environmental health campaign director at the Ecology Center.  “Many health professionals are keen to learn what impact the environment has on human health and how diseases can be prevented by improving environmental conditions in communities.”

Health professionals continue to treat diseases derived from an unhealthy environment. This program recognizes that more emphasis should be placed on the cause of diseases and prevention, rather than simply treating the effects.  

“We have made tremendous progress in screening and treatment of diseases, but we have a lot of work to do in terms of prevention,” says Shajuana Tyson, RN, BSN, public health nurse, Calhoun County Public Health Department. “Health professionals can lead the way by exploring what the health implications are of pollution and advocating for better policies in our hospitals and better laws to protect public health.”
Other Michigan hospitals participating in Food Day include: Borgess Medical Center of Kalamazoo, Bronson Battle Creek, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor, McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey, Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord, St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren, Borgess Lee Memorial in Dowagiac, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Livingston, Borgess Pipp Hospital in Plainwell, St. John Hospital & Medical Center Moross Campus in Detroit, McLaren Medical Center in Mt. Clemens, St. John Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights, Brighton Center for Recovery, St. Mary’s of Michigan Saginaw, Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, McLaren Bay Region in Bay City, St. John River District Hospital in East China, St. Mary’s of Michigan Standish, and Tawas St. Joseph Hospital.

For more information, contact: Rebecca Meuninck, Rebecca@ecocenter.org, 734­-369­-9278, cell 734-­276­-8005 Nicki Milgrom, nicki@ecocenter.org, 734-369-9279, cell 248-330-5004

Published on October 24, 2014