UCLA hospitals begin using antibiotic-free meat

Chicken breasts and ground beef are on the menu; more beef and chicken may follow.

LOS ANGELES—UCLA Health System has joined the University of California San Francisco Medical Center in offering antibiotic-free proteins on its patient and retail menus. Patti Oliver, director of nutrition services, says last week the health system began using antibiotic-free chicken breasts, ground beef patties and ground beef. Last fall, the UCSF Medical Center began serving hormone-free, antibiotic-free chicken breasts.

“We are menuing about 700 pounds of chicken breasts, 100 pounds of beef patties and about 60 pounds of ground beef per week,” Oliver says. “We are in the process of looking at chicken quarters, stewing beef and tri-tips as well.”

The move by UCLA follows mandates by the president of the University of California system, who at the start of the decade set a goal of every institution within the system having 20% of its food items be considered sustainable by the year 2020. Oliver says her facility already has surpassed that percentage, having 24% of her menu using sustainable items. “But we’re still wanting to increase that number,” she adds.

The biggest challenge in making the switch has been price. Oliver says her department, along with other hospitals in the areas, has been working with vendors during the past year to leverage their purchasing power in an attempt to bring prices down. Oliver is the Los Angeles area organizer of the Healthy Food in Health Care program (a health and sustainable food program from Health Care Without Harm), which involves some 35 hospitals.

They have succeeded to the point that, Oliver notes, cafeteria prices for chicken dishes have not increased.

“We have not raised our prices. We have been able to negotiate a price point that means our annual increase (in chicken prices) will be less than $20,000,” she explains. “We are looking at finding other savings to compensate for that. I do feel that if, eventually, we need to increase prices a bit that it will be well-accepted, because we have received so many positive comments about the change.”

One reason driving hospitals to consider the use of antibiotic-free proteins is the problem of antibiotic resistance. In a press release from UCLA, Dr. Daniel Uslan, director of the health system’s antimicrobial stewardship program, noted that the overuse of antibiotics in food animals has had the unintended side effect of causing more antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.

"With the effectiveness of key antibiotics dwindling, bacterial resistance presents a major public health challenge," Uslan was quoted in the release. "It's critical that we reduce unnecessary antibiotic use in agriculture and support appropriate antibiotic use by clinicians and patients."

More From FoodService Director

People in Foodservice
lucretia chancler

Lucretia Chancler’s roots lie in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish. She grew up in the parish, and her mother taught in the school district for 33 years—even occasionally teaching young Lucretia. Advanced degrees and a post-grad job took her to Colorado, Georgia and other places, but St. Landry soon called Chancler back home.

In October 2009, Chancler returned to Louisiana to become St. Landry’s supervisor of child nutrition. The parish’s economic makeup is a big driver behind Chancler’s local mission: More than 85% of the 14,000 students at the parish’s 32 schools are eligible for...

Menu Development
chefs council spread

Last October, we published the results of FoodService Director’s first annual Chefs’ Council Menu Trends survey, revealing predictions for menu shake-ups in 2016 . Many of the predictions panned out, including an increase in snacking, ever-spicier flavor profiles, veg-centric plates, fresh-pressed juices and build-your-own options. Now we’re back with next year’s forecast, culled from our panel of 50 Chefs’ Council members—culinarians representing the core segments of noncommercial foodservice. Some of the flavors, ingredients and cuisines expand on current trends, while others go off in...

Ideas and Innovation
sushi plate

We wanted to add sushi, but that’s not really my expertise. So we found a great local company that offered to put three sushi chefs on-site every day. They supply the ingredients, and if we meet the minimum revenue each week, than we receive a percentage of sales. We have been exceeding the weekly minimum sales, which we track in our POS, in two days.

Managing Your Business
coffee barista

Whether it’s a morning routine, an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening social ritual, few things are as universally appealing as coffee. Sixty-five percent of respondents in Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report say they ordered a cup of hot joe from a foodservice location in the past month, and 59% say the same about cold coffee. Everyone has an opinion about what makes it good, whether it’s a low price, a unique blend or a friendly barista.

“Coffee is so personal. There are a lot of people that are Dunkin’ fans. There’s a lot of Starbucks people,” says James Dravenack,...

FSD Resources