Environmentally Friendly Hospital Menu

3804 words (15 pages) Essay

11th Oct 2017 Health Reference this

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  • MANASA PENTA

As a Registered Dietitian at the Sandringham Public hospital the below briefing paper on a proposal to revise existing hospital menu and plan a greener menu by including 100% foods used from local food producers around Melbourne. This is submitted to the Broad of Directors of the hospital for their approval.

Context:

According to the IPCC (2007), the global climate and other life-supporting environmental systems are seriously perturbed and depleted. Climate change-related drought prone and long-term drying conditions emerging in some sub-tropical regions around the world, higher temperatures, raising sea levels, increasing frequency of flooding, and acidification of oceans are now contributing to reduced quantity, quality and affordability of food in many countries. Australia is also facing environmental challenges, with an expected increase in average surface temperature of 0.6-1.5c by 2030. (Fd systems & En sustain Pg1)

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Consequently, public concern over climate change, information and opportunities for people to lower their “carbon foot print”, a measure of the total consumer responsibility for greenhouse emissions, have become increasingly available. It is imperative that human health is placed within the context of the health of the planet. (food miles pg 3058). In general much of the research around climate change has concluded that food, home energy, and transportation together form a large share of most consumers’ personal impact (food miles pg 3058).

Food has a huge impact on the environment. Food production contributes up to 29% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (http://www.foodalliance.org.au/article/healthy-sustainable-diets/). Every step of the food supply chain, from production, to transport, processing, packaging and distribution has potential environmental consequences. There is a bi-directional relationship between environmental degradation and food systems. This requires us to consider the impact of climate change on food production and the impact of food production on the ecology of the biosphere, both of which have significant implications on public health. Food production over the past fifty years in particular has had severe environmental impacts in Australia and around the world. To a significant extent, this is due to unsustainable methods being used all the way along the supply chain from agricultural practices through to distribution methods and consumer habits. Due to the increasing acknowledgment of environmental degradation through the unsustainable nature of many agricultural methods used around the world, the concept of sustainable diets has become popular. (http://www.foodalliance.org.au/article/healthy-sustainable-diets/). According to FAO 2010, Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.

Why us?

While there isn’t a ‘silver-bullet’ that will solve all the environmental issues of our food system at once, there are a number of actions our community can take to drive change in specific areas. The tremendous purchasing power and public visibility of hospitals could be a key lever for building infrastructure and demand for local food. Hospital efforts may also bring attention to public health impacts of the food system, including air and water pollution, residues from pesticides and other toxins, and health inequities in agricultural communities. A stronger focus on food helps hospitals play a role in promoting environmental sustainability and in raising awareness of its links to human health.

Plan of Action

On analysis the following food sustainable issues within the organisation need to be addressed to contribute to the overall

  1. Food is transported great distances
  2. Purchasing food that’s grown out of season
  3. Resources (especially water, fertiliser, Energy ) are used unsustainably
  4. Food Wastage
  5. Packaged Food
  6. Biodiversity impacts of agriculture
  7. Impacts of livestock production on environment
  8. Land being swallowed by urban sprawl

Above issues can be address by following below practices to achieve food sustainability that not only benefit the organisation but also have an impact on local, national and global food sustainability issues.

In Australia, food in the average shopping basket has travelled over 70,000 kms—that’s nearly two times the distance around the Earth. In fact, four imported items alone can account for nearly 50,000 kms. Even if a product is labelled as Australian-made it can still have ingredients from all over the world, adding to its transport footprint.

Transporting food long distances, either across Australia or from overseas, generally uses up more non-renewable resources than producing and eating food locally. Energy, fuel, gas and water are consumed during transportation and storage – adding to foods’ environmental impact. Transportation from farm, to processing plant, to consumer, can account for up to 11 per cent of food’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce emissions by buying food produced locally.

Perhaps the most significant element of any sustainable food strategy is the menu. Appetising food is more likely to be eaten, so it is important to develop a menu that on the one hand is appealing to patients and staff, while on the other hand being high in both nutritional and sustainable value. Menu planning drives the choice of ingredients required, so it is important to design a menu that reduces the use of ingredients that have high environmental and health impacts. (6)

Currently our hospital menu offered to patients and cafeteria offers a wide range of food choices without much emphasis on food sustainability.

The aim of this project is to revise the hospital menu that is served in the cafeteria and for in-patients and in a years’, plan a “Greener Menu” that incorporates environmentally sustainable foods which are procured within 100 kilometres of radius around Melbourne. This initiative helps patients, staff and visitors to make healthy food choices and in turn helps in reducing our hospital’s eco-footprint on climate and environmental changes.

Short term goals:

  1. In 3 months’ time, a minimum of 5% of foods used in the hospital kitchen to come from locally produced foods.
  2. In 6 months to aim for a minimum of 25% foods used in the hospital kitchen to come from locally produced foods.
  3. In 9 months to aim from a minimum of 50%
  4. In a years’ time to achieve the actual goal of 100% foods used to be procured from locally produced foods

Above aim can be achieved by following below objectives: (5)

  • By aligning the hospital menu with seasonal production and harvesting cycles
  • Sourcing food locally
  • Adding vegetarian and dairy-free option to the menu
  • Choosing sustainably farmed meat and dairy
  • Including meat dishes that have low environmental impact such as chicken, pork and eggs

What needs to be done and how?

Overview of evidence:

There are various studies conducted in the past that have proven that adapting a healthier and sustainable food choices into the organisation’s menu in turn increased intake of these foods

A definition of healthy food procurement that has been used in a review of policies is “a process which encompasses not just how public bodies procure food, but also how they determine what food they want to buy and from whom; receive and store food; prepare and serve food; dispose of waste food; and monitor their costs” [26].

In Ireland, the impact of a structured catering initiative on food choices was evaluated in a hospital setting [60]. A cross-sectional comparison was made using a 24-hour dietary recall and questionnaire of participants aged 18–64 years in two hospitals; one implemented a catering initiative that promoted nutritious food and reduced sugar, fat, and salt, and the other was used as a control (Table 3) [60]. Overall, this study found that improving the dietary quality of menu items provided in hospitals can reduce the amount of unhealthy nutrients such as fat, sugar, and sodium in foods served to patients in a hospital setting by up to 30% [60]

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480 homebound, low-income seniors receiving Meals on Wheels over 4 months in Seattle, WA (USA) Increased access to fresh fruit and vegetables via home delivery. Seniors receiving baskets consumed 1.04 more servings than those in the control group. The number of seniors consuming >five servings per day increased by 17% from baseline. (62)

Comprehensive initiative for food public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and prisons in the United Kingdom developed and disseminated a report to encourage consumption of locally grown foods and availability of healthy foods and build momentum for progress. Awareness of the program increased by 24% in 2 years; 72% of local authorities and 69% of schools supported initiative; 54% of users find the guidelines very useful or extremely useful; constraints were identified.(64)

How this goal can be achieved?

  • Firstly the current menu needs to evaluated and analysed to see where improvements can be made in regards sustainable change can be adapted. A short survey in the form of questionnaire can be used to determine staff and patients view on moving towards a sustainable menu
  • Educating the food service staff, chefs and hospital management staff about the importance of moving towards a sustainable menu with in the hospitals. This session will also highlight the benefits of sustainable menus for the organisation’s food consumers and to the community.
  • Create a seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar depending on what’s available around Melbourne. This information can be obtained from websites, for example www.vicfarmersmarkets.org.au/content/whats-season

www.woolworths.com.au

  • Need to source the local farmers for different foods, for example fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and also any suppliers for locally produced food items such as jams, relishes, ice creams etc.
  • While choosing the contractors, food sustainability specifications such as including organic, seasonal produce, choosing sustainability farmed meat and dairy. Some of the organisations that can find sustainable food producers around Melbourne.
  • Once this information is gathered, depending on what’s in season and what foods are available locally, different seasonal menus have to planned and consolidated by liaising with the hospital chefs and the food service team.
  • When creating the menus by adding the region in the dish name or in the description, patients and staff can know where their food came from which in turn acts as role model to purchase local and seasonal produce.
  • Once these menus are consolidated a short survey in the form of questionnaire among the staff can be conducted to get any feedback and suggestions that can be used to make any alterations.
  • Finally, a review of the menus need to conducted to access if the original aim of including 100 percent locally and sustainably produced foods are incorporated in the menu initiative has been achieved.
  • Also analysing the staff and patients food choices before and after the implementation of the Greener menu helps to evaluate if there a change in the way they chose the food items.

Who is likely to support and challenge this proposal?

The Key supports of this proposal at the community could be from

  • The Local council – considering the proposals is addressing few food sustainability issues which in turn would benefit the community at both local and indirectly at a national scale.
  • Government organisations and NGOs
  • Local farmers as this proposal would the demand for their produce and contribute to their sales.
  • The hospital patients, staff and people who access the hospital’s cafeteria as by purchasing this food they indirectly contributing towards a sustainable environment

Challenges

  • Challenges related to instructional buy-in

Beyond the foodservice department, hospital leadership is crucial to building institutional capacity and commitment to buy local food. If senior administrators in charge of budget, human resources, procurement, community benefits, and overall institutional strategic direction do not support local food efforts, they can be can be severely crippled. By educating the foodservice department and the hospital leadership about the benefits of the proposal can build help building trust and also gives an opportunity to address their concerns towards the proposal.

  • Challenges related to supply:

It is important to note that farm-to-hospital initiatives may be substantially challenged by supply-side issues.

Local production of food does not mean that producers would prefer to sell locally, or to sell to institutions. Many farmers are part of existing markets and do not produce enough additional food to supply high-volume institutional buyers. Large farmers may be uninterested in the additional marketing and customer relations that might be required to sell their products locally. So some research needs to be done to understand local producers and their supply ability.

  • Local food may not always mean it’s from sustainable sources

It is important to note that ‘local food’ doesn’t always mean it’s produced in environmental friendly conditions. So before accepting any contracts, it’s important to note what sustainable agricultural procedures are used. Visiting the farm yards or the food production units is a good idea to ensure sustainable farming or food productions methods are used.

Summary:

Recent studies suggest that there is a growing attention towards climate change and opportunities for people to lower their “carbon foot print” towards the growing Greenhouse gas emissions. It is now imperative that human health is placed within the context of the health of the planet. Every step of the food supply chain, from production, to transport, processing, packaging and distribution has potential environmental consequences. Hospital efforts may also bring attention to public health impacts of the food system, including air and water pollution, residues from pesticides and other toxins, and health inequities in agricultural communities. A stronger focus on food helps hospitals play a role in promoting environmental sustainability and in raising awareness of its links to human health

This proposal aims at creating a greener menu in place of the current hospital menu where by addressing few food-sustainability issues that can be modified within the organization. The aim is to procure locally produced food items thereby decreasing food miles, buying local and seasonal foods, choosing sustainably produced food and animal products. This also helps to provide better sustainable and healthy choices to the patients and staff within the hospital.

References

5. We Need to Talk About Food – How We Can All Build A Better Food System, https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Sustainability/WhatCanIDo/Pages/SustainableFood.asx

6. Sustainable Food: A Guide for Hospitals

7. Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States

8. Identifying Sustainable Foods: The Relationship between Environmental Impact, Nutritional Quality, and Prices of Foods Representative of the French Diet Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsVolume 114, Issue 6, June 2014, Pages 862–869

26 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/ [L’Abbé M., Sunohara D., Wan J. Environmental Scan of Public Food proCurement Policies Related to Sodium. Public Health Agency of Canada; Ottawa, ON, Canada: 2011. pp. 1–93.]

28. 26 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/

60 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/ The impact of a workplace catering initiative on dietary intakes of salt and other nutrients: a pilot study.Geaney F, Harrington J, Fitzgerald A, Perry IPublic Health Nutr. 2011 Aug; 14(8):1345-9.

[PubMed] [Ref list]

In Australia, food in the average shopping basket has travelled over 70,000 kms—that’s nearly two times the distance around the Earth. In fact, four imported items alone can account for nearly 50,000 kms. Even if a product is labelled as Australian-made it can still have ingredients from all over the world, adding to its transport footprint.

Transporting food long distances, either across Australia or from overseas, generally uses up more non-renewable resources than producing and eating food locally. Energy, fuel, gas and water are consumed during transportation and storage – adding to foods’ environmental impact. Transportation from farm, to processing plant, to consumer, can account for up to 11 per cent of food’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce emissions by buying food produced locally.

Buying local produce also addresses some of the other food sustainability issues such as encouraging

  • Promotes sustainable agriculture
  • Gives fair and equal opportunities for local farmers
  • Promotes healthy eating by choosing seasonal produces,
  • Reducing the usage on fuel in terms of land / water and air travel for transporting food across the globe.

Considering the multifactorial benefits that local food procurement has on the organisation’s food sustainability issues, it is identified as a key initiative that needs to be addressed in the organisation as a main priority. While there is no single solution to solve all the environmental issues of our food system at once, there are a number of actions our community can take to drive change in specific areas. Hospitals in the community act as role models

1

  • MANASA PENTA

As a Registered Dietitian at the Sandringham Public hospital the below briefing paper on a proposal to revise existing hospital menu and plan a greener menu by including 100% foods used from local food producers around Melbourne. This is submitted to the Broad of Directors of the hospital for their approval.

Context:

According to the IPCC (2007), the global climate and other life-supporting environmental systems are seriously perturbed and depleted. Climate change-related drought prone and long-term drying conditions emerging in some sub-tropical regions around the world, higher temperatures, raising sea levels, increasing frequency of flooding, and acidification of oceans are now contributing to reduced quantity, quality and affordability of food in many countries. Australia is also facing environmental challenges, with an expected increase in average surface temperature of 0.6-1.5c by 2030. (Fd systems & En sustain Pg1)

Consequently, public concern over climate change, information and opportunities for people to lower their “carbon foot print”, a measure of the total consumer responsibility for greenhouse emissions, have become increasingly available. It is imperative that human health is placed within the context of the health of the planet. (food miles pg 3058). In general much of the research around climate change has concluded that food, home energy, and transportation together form a large share of most consumers’ personal impact (food miles pg 3058).

Food has a huge impact on the environment. Food production contributes up to 29% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (http://www.foodalliance.org.au/article/healthy-sustainable-diets/). Every step of the food supply chain, from production, to transport, processing, packaging and distribution has potential environmental consequences. There is a bi-directional relationship between environmental degradation and food systems. This requires us to consider the impact of climate change on food production and the impact of food production on the ecology of the biosphere, both of which have significant implications on public health. Food production over the past fifty years in particular has had severe environmental impacts in Australia and around the world. To a significant extent, this is due to unsustainable methods being used all the way along the supply chain from agricultural practices through to distribution methods and consumer habits. Due to the increasing acknowledgment of environmental degradation through the unsustainable nature of many agricultural methods used around the world, the concept of sustainable diets has become popular. (http://www.foodalliance.org.au/article/healthy-sustainable-diets/). According to FAO 2010, Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.

Why us?

While there isn’t a ‘silver-bullet’ that will solve all the environmental issues of our food system at once, there are a number of actions our community can take to drive change in specific areas. The tremendous purchasing power and public visibility of hospitals could be a key lever for building infrastructure and demand for local food. Hospital efforts may also bring attention to public health impacts of the food system, including air and water pollution, residues from pesticides and other toxins, and health inequities in agricultural communities. A stronger focus on food helps hospitals play a role in promoting environmental sustainability and in raising awareness of its links to human health.

Plan of Action

On analysis the following food sustainable issues within the organisation need to be addressed to contribute to the overall

  1. Food is transported great distances
  2. Purchasing food that’s grown out of season
  3. Resources (especially water, fertiliser, Energy ) are used unsustainably
  4. Food Wastage
  5. Packaged Food
  6. Biodiversity impacts of agriculture
  7. Impacts of livestock production on environment
  8. Land being swallowed by urban sprawl

Above issues can be address by following below practices to achieve food sustainability that not only benefit the organisation but also have an impact on local, national and global food sustainability issues.

In Australia, food in the average shopping basket has travelled over 70,000 kms—that’s nearly two times the distance around the Earth. In fact, four imported items alone can account for nearly 50,000 kms. Even if a product is labelled as Australian-made it can still have ingredients from all over the world, adding to its transport footprint.

Transporting food long distances, either across Australia or from overseas, generally uses up more non-renewable resources than producing and eating food locally. Energy, fuel, gas and water are consumed during transportation and storage – adding to foods’ environmental impact. Transportation from farm, to processing plant, to consumer, can account for up to 11 per cent of food’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce emissions by buying food produced locally.

Perhaps the most significant element of any sustainable food strategy is the menu. Appetising food is more likely to be eaten, so it is important to develop a menu that on the one hand is appealing to patients and staff, while on the other hand being high in both nutritional and sustainable value. Menu planning drives the choice of ingredients required, so it is important to design a menu that reduces the use of ingredients that have high environmental and health impacts. (6)

Currently our hospital menu offered to patients and cafeteria offers a wide range of food choices without much emphasis on food sustainability.

The aim of this project is to revise the hospital menu that is served in the cafeteria and for in-patients and in a years’, plan a “Greener Menu” that incorporates environmentally sustainable foods which are procured within 100 kilometres of radius around Melbourne. This initiative helps patients, staff and visitors to make healthy food choices and in turn helps in reducing our hospital’s eco-footprint on climate and environmental changes.

Short term goals:

  1. In 3 months’ time, a minimum of 5% of foods used in the hospital kitchen to come from locally produced foods.
  2. In 6 months to aim for a minimum of 25% foods used in the hospital kitchen to come from locally produced foods.
  3. In 9 months to aim from a minimum of 50%
  4. In a years’ time to achieve the actual goal of 100% foods used to be procured from locally produced foods

Above aim can be achieved by following below objectives: (5)

  • By aligning the hospital menu with seasonal production and harvesting cycles
  • Sourcing food locally
  • Adding vegetarian and dairy-free option to the menu
  • Choosing sustainably farmed meat and dairy
  • Including meat dishes that have low environmental impact such as chicken, pork and eggs

What needs to be done and how?

Overview of evidence:

There are various studies conducted in the past that have proven that adapting a healthier and sustainable food choices into the organisation’s menu in turn increased intake of these foods

A definition of healthy food procurement that has been used in a review of policies is “a process which encompasses not just how public bodies procure food, but also how they determine what food they want to buy and from whom; receive and store food; prepare and serve food; dispose of waste food; and monitor their costs” [26].

In Ireland, the impact of a structured catering initiative on food choices was evaluated in a hospital setting [60]. A cross-sectional comparison was made using a 24-hour dietary recall and questionnaire of participants aged 18–64 years in two hospitals; one implemented a catering initiative that promoted nutritious food and reduced sugar, fat, and salt, and the other was used as a control (Table 3) [60]. Overall, this study found that improving the dietary quality of menu items provided in hospitals can reduce the amount of unhealthy nutrients such as fat, sugar, and sodium in foods served to patients in a hospital setting by up to 30% [60]

480 homebound, low-income seniors receiving Meals on Wheels over 4 months in Seattle, WA (USA) Increased access to fresh fruit and vegetables via home delivery. Seniors receiving baskets consumed 1.04 more servings than those in the control group. The number of seniors consuming >five servings per day increased by 17% from baseline. (62)

Comprehensive initiative for food public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and prisons in the United Kingdom developed and disseminated a report to encourage consumption of locally grown foods and availability of healthy foods and build momentum for progress. Awareness of the program increased by 24% in 2 years; 72% of local authorities and 69% of schools supported initiative; 54% of users find the guidelines very useful or extremely useful; constraints were identified.(64)

How this goal can be achieved?

  • Firstly the current menu needs to evaluated and analysed to see where improvements can be made in regards sustainable change can be adapted. A short survey in the form of questionnaire can be used to determine staff and patients view on moving towards a sustainable menu
  • Educating the food service staff, chefs and hospital management staff about the importance of moving towards a sustainable menu with in the hospitals. This session will also highlight the benefits of sustainable menus for the organisation’s food consumers and to the community.
  • Create a seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar depending on what’s available around Melbourne. This information can be obtained from websites, for example www.vicfarmersmarkets.org.au/content/whats-season

www.woolworths.com.au

  • Need to source the local farmers for different foods, for example fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and also any suppliers for locally produced food items such as jams, relishes, ice creams etc.
  • While choosing the contractors, food sustainability specifications such as including organic, seasonal produce, choosing sustainability farmed meat and dairy. Some of the organisations that can find sustainable food producers around Melbourne.
  • Once this information is gathered, depending on what’s in season and what foods are available locally, different seasonal menus have to planned and consolidated by liaising with the hospital chefs and the food service team.
  • When creating the menus by adding the region in the dish name or in the description, patients and staff can know where their food came from which in turn acts as role model to purchase local and seasonal produce.
  • Once these menus are consolidated a short survey in the form of questionnaire among the staff can be conducted to get any feedback and suggestions that can be used to make any alterations.
  • Finally, a review of the menus need to conducted to access if the original aim of including 100 percent locally and sustainably produced foods are incorporated in the menu initiative has been achieved.
  • Also analysing the staff and patients food choices before and after the implementation of the Greener menu helps to evaluate if there a change in the way they chose the food items.

Who is likely to support and challenge this proposal?

The Key supports of this proposal at the community could be from

  • The Local council – considering the proposals is addressing few food sustainability issues which in turn would benefit the community at both local and indirectly at a national scale.
  • Government organisations and NGOs
  • Local farmers as this proposal would the demand for their produce and contribute to their sales.
  • The hospital patients, staff and people who access the hospital’s cafeteria as by purchasing this food they indirectly contributing towards a sustainable environment

Challenges

  • Challenges related to instructional buy-in

Beyond the foodservice department, hospital leadership is crucial to building institutional capacity and commitment to buy local food. If senior administrators in charge of budget, human resources, procurement, community benefits, and overall institutional strategic direction do not support local food efforts, they can be can be severely crippled. By educating the foodservice department and the hospital leadership about the benefits of the proposal can build help building trust and also gives an opportunity to address their concerns towards the proposal.

  • Challenges related to supply:

It is important to note that farm-to-hospital initiatives may be substantially challenged by supply-side issues.

Local production of food does not mean that producers would prefer to sell locally, or to sell to institutions. Many farmers are part of existing markets and do not produce enough additional food to supply high-volume institutional buyers. Large farmers may be uninterested in the additional marketing and customer relations that might be required to sell their products locally. So some research needs to be done to understand local producers and their supply ability.

  • Local food may not always mean it’s from sustainable sources

It is important to note that ‘local food’ doesn’t always mean it’s produced in environmental friendly conditions. So before accepting any contracts, it’s important to note what sustainable agricultural procedures are used. Visiting the farm yards or the food production units is a good idea to ensure sustainable farming or food productions methods are used.

Summary:

Recent studies suggest that there is a growing attention towards climate change and opportunities for people to lower their “carbon foot print” towards the growing Greenhouse gas emissions. It is now imperative that human health is placed within the context of the health of the planet. Every step of the food supply chain, from production, to transport, processing, packaging and distribution has potential environmental consequences. Hospital efforts may also bring attention to public health impacts of the food system, including air and water pollution, residues from pesticides and other toxins, and health inequities in agricultural communities. A stronger focus on food helps hospitals play a role in promoting environmental sustainability and in raising awareness of its links to human health

This proposal aims at creating a greener menu in place of the current hospital menu where by addressing few food-sustainability issues that can be modified within the organization. The aim is to procure locally produced food items thereby decreasing food miles, buying local and seasonal foods, choosing sustainably produced food and animal products. This also helps to provide better sustainable and healthy choices to the patients and staff within the hospital.

References

5. We Need to Talk About Food – How We Can All Build A Better Food System, https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Sustainability/WhatCanIDo/Pages/SustainableFood.asx

6. Sustainable Food: A Guide for Hospitals

7. Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States

8. Identifying Sustainable Foods: The Relationship between Environmental Impact, Nutritional Quality, and Prices of Foods Representative of the French Diet Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsVolume 114, Issue 6, June 2014, Pages 862–869

26 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/ [L’Abbé M., Sunohara D., Wan J. Environmental Scan of Public Food proCurement Policies Related to Sodium. Public Health Agency of Canada; Ottawa, ON, Canada: 2011. pp. 1–93.]

28. 26 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/

60 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986994/ The impact of a workplace catering initiative on dietary intakes of salt and other nutrients: a pilot study.Geaney F, Harrington J, Fitzgerald A, Perry IPublic Health Nutr. 2011 Aug; 14(8):1345-9.

[PubMed] [Ref list]

In Australia, food in the average shopping basket has travelled over 70,000 kms—that’s nearly two times the distance around the Earth. In fact, four imported items alone can account for nearly 50,000 kms. Even if a product is labelled as Australian-made it can still have ingredients from all over the world, adding to its transport footprint.

Transporting food long distances, either across Australia or from overseas, generally uses up more non-renewable resources than producing and eating food locally. Energy, fuel, gas and water are consumed during transportation and storage – adding to foods’ environmental impact. Transportation from farm, to processing plant, to consumer, can account for up to 11 per cent of food’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce emissions by buying food produced locally.

Buying local produce also addresses some of the other food sustainability issues such as encouraging

  • Promotes sustainable agriculture
  • Gives fair and equal opportunities for local farmers
  • Promotes healthy eating by choosing seasonal produces,
  • Reducing the usage on fuel in terms of land / water and air travel for transporting food across the globe.

Considering the multifactorial benefits that local food procurement has on the organisation’s food sustainability issues, it is identified as a key initiative that needs to be addressed in the organisation as a main priority. While there is no single solution to solve all the environmental issues of our food system at once, there are a number of actions our community can take to drive change in specific areas. Hospitals in the community act as role models

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