UCFS Medical Center switches to antibiotic-free chicken

Hospital says 32% of the animal protein it serves is now antibiotic-free.

The UCSF Medical Center, in San Francisco, will now offer only antibiotic-free chicken on its patient and retail menus. Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and food services and sustainability officer for the hospital, made the announcement during the Balanced Menus Conference, held earlier this week in the Bay Area. The conference was sponsored by the Physicians for A social Responsibility, Healthcare Without Harm and the California Endowment.

“We are switching all of our 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast to an antibiotic-free option,” Henroid says. “This will cut over everything on our menu that uses chicken breast. It is a substantial thing for us to find a uniform product for cost containment and nutrition quality at a price we can afford.”

He adds that the change will increase the percentage of antibiotic-free meat in the hospital’s overall meat spend from 17% to 32%, equating to 42,000 pounds of 4-ounce breasts a year.

Henroid says the academic board of the University of California, San Francisco, of which the medical center is a part, recently passed a resolution to encourage all vendors to source products locally and sustainably.

“We’ve been working on this [purchasing agreement] for a while,” he says, noting that the purpose of the conference was also to examine strategies for purchasing more proteins from animals not treated with “excessive antibiotics.”