UCLA Santa Monica Adds New Menu Additions

Sunday, 6 Apr 2014, 9:23:00 AM

Mirror Staff

UCLA Health System's Patricia Oliver and Chef Gabriel Gomez with antibiotic-free menu items.
Courtesy photo
UCLA Health System's Patricia Oliver and Chef Gabriel Gomez with antibiotic-free menu items.

Patients, staff, and visitors to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical

Center and UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica can now enjoy a healthier

version of the traditional burger-and-fries lunch.

The hospitals' menus now include burgers made from antibiotic-free,

grass-fed beef and herb roasted potatoes, as well as antibiotic-free

chicken breasts.

With the changes, the hospitals are helping lead the trend toward serving healthier, antibiotic-free meats.

This move is in line with other initiatives instituted recently by

the health system to promote a healthier community, including banning

fried foods, offering "meatless Mondays," and using biodegradable

utensils and plates.

The menu enhancements were spurred in part by concern about bacteria's growing resistance to antibiotics.

According to Dr. Daniel Uslan, an assistant clinical professor of

medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen

School of Medicine at UCLA, an overuse of antibiotics in cows, chickens

and other food-producing animals has helped make bacteria resistant to

commonly used antibiotics, which in turn has led to more

antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.

"With the effectiveness of key antibiotics dwindling, bacterial

resistance presents a major public health challenge," said Uslan, who

also is director of the antimicrobial stewardship program at the UCLA

Health System. "It's critical that we reduce unnecessary antibiotic use

in agriculture and support appropriate antibiotic use by clinicians and


According to the Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of all

antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for food-producing animals. There

is a growing public health concern that the antibiotics are being used

mostly to promote faster growth in otherwise healthy animals and to

compensate for unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions.

Meanwhile, the health care community is increasingly instituting

policies to help combat antibiotic resistance in patient care and to

minimize exposure to unnecessary antibiotics as part of broader

environmental sustainability plans, including in food service.

"We are excited about this new initiative," said Dr. David Feinberg,

president of the UCLA Health System and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System.

"Serving antibiotic-free beef and chicken is another way for us to do

our part and support our vision of a healthier community."

The UCLA Health System has been recognized nationally for its efforts

to promote wellness and sustainability, receiving awards in 2013 from

Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm for offering more

vegetarian menu options, increasing its use of composting, reducing food

waste, launching energy- and water-conservation programs, and other

initiatives; and it participates in national campaigns including the

Healthier Hospitals Initiative. The health system's adoption of

antibiotic-free beef and chicken complements University of California

system-wide sustainability policies.

"We serve more than 3.4 million meals annually between our two

hospitals and are always looking for ways to enhance and improve our

services," said Patricia Oliver, UCLA Health System's director of

nutrition services. Oliver also is the Los Angeles area coordinator for

the Healthy Food in Health Care program, through which more than 30

local hospitals and 128 hospitals state-wide leverage their combined

health expertise and purchasing power to promote healthier food systems.

UCLA Health System has for more than half a century provided the best

in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of

Los Angeles and the world. Comprising Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center;

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; the Resnick Neuropsychiatric

Hospital at UCLA; Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA; and the UCLA Medical

Group, UCLA Health, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and

specialty care offices throughout the region, is among the most

comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world.

For information about clinical programs or help in choosing a personal physician, call 800-UCLA-MD1 or visit www.uclahealth.org.

Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.