Greenhealth Exchange Issues Statement on Sustainable Meat and Poultry

Published: 11/01/2018 - 16:15
Feature Image

RESTON, Virginia (September 1, 2016)—Last week, nine leading health systems—Advocate Health Care, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Gundersen Health System, HackensackUMC, Kaiser Permanente, Partners HealthCare*, University Hospitals Health System, and Veterans Health Administration Nutrition and Food Services—called on food producers and manufacturers to meet the growing demand for meat and poultry raised without the routine use of antibiotics by health care organizations.

John Strong, President and CEO of Greenhealth Exchange (GX), applauded the health care sector’s call for sustainable meat and poultry and issued the following statement:

For years, antibiotics have helped control harmful bacteria that can make us sick. However, in recent decades, we’ve seen antibiotics lose effectiveness as millions fall ill from antibiotic-resistant infections unable to be addressed with existing treatments.

Studies show that the routine, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals is a big part of the problem, with as much as 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US fed to animals raised for food. Increasing access to sustainable, environmentally responsible meat and poultry is a critical step towards making the food supply safer and keeping our families and our communities healthy.

Launched in May 2016, GX is a purchasing cooperative that makes it easier for hospitals and health systems to buy products and services that are good for people, communities and the planet and the health care system’s bottom line.

GX is working with its members to increase access to ingredients such as meat and poultry raised without the routine use of antibiotics that are needed to make the healthy, sustainable foods served in their facilities. In addition, leading organizations, particularly in the education and hospitality sectors, are also calling for greater access to sustainable, environmentally responsible meat and poultry. GX is committed to making it easy for any organization to access better meat and poultry products in the marketplace.

Our goal with this effort is two-fold: to ensure that any organization can convert 100% of its meat and poultry to sustainable, environmentally responsible alternatives and to use our market power to help shift supply nationally, building strong local and regional food systems. To make forward progress, GX has been working with its members and sustainable food experts from Practice Greenhealth and Greenhealth Exchange, to define clear specifications for better meat and poultry that align with the Healthier Food Challenge. In addition, GX has identified better meat and poultry producers and will have contracts in place with such producers this fall when our catalog launches, featuring high quality, competitively priced green products.

We are building a unique marketplace featuring products and services that are good for health, communities and the environment. At GX, we recognize the critical role that our supplier partners play and we invite more producers of better meat and poultry products to join our collaboration to make positive change happen, at a faster pace and greater scale.

The collective call last week from nine major health systems is another powerful example that the demand for green products is there. Combined, these health systems—three of which are GX members—spend $34 million annually on meat and poultry. This is a significant market share that, if shifted toward sustainable sources, could impact the whole livestock industry and encourage more producers to raise meat and poultry using sustainable practices.

Again, we applaud these health care leaders for taking a strong position and we urge others to join us in our demand for sustainable, environmentally responsible meat. Together with our founding partners—Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Dignity Health, Gundersen Health System, Health Care Without Harm, Partners HealthCare and Practice Greenhealth—we will transform health care, one purchase at a time.

To learn more about GX offerings and partnership opportunities, please visit the website:

*Participating Partners HealthCare hospitals include: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, North Shore Medical Center-Salem, North Shore Medical Center-Union, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital-Boston, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital-Cape Cod.

About Greenhealth Exchange

Greenhealth Exchange (GX) is a Public Benefits Corporation structured as a purchasing cooperative created by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm, and leading health systems deeply committed to environmental sustainability in health care. GX makes it easy to source products and services used in health care settings that are good for people, the planet and the bottom line. We work with our members to spark innovation in the supply chain: getting to next generation products, smarter and faster.

# # #

Join Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the health care sector’s go-to source for information, tools, data, resources, and expert technical support on sustainability initiatives that help hospitals and health systems meet their health, financial, and community goals.

Join now