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
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.
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