Henry Ford Health System starts phasing antibiotic-free poultry into cafeterias

In the interest of combating the growth of antibiotic resistance, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit is working to serve only antibiotic-free poultry to patients, employees and visitors at its five hospitals.


Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital was the first of the system's hospitals to have completely antibiotic-free poultry. The cafeteria at the system's headquarters also features chicken and turkey that is antibiotic-free.

The meat is from Perdue Harvestland and the animals have never been given antibiotics, even as eggs.

"Serving antibiotic-free poultry supports Henry Ford's mission to implement practices that result in health benefits to patients and employees," John Miller, director of culinary wellness with the system, said.

In recent years, research has shown the link between antibiotic resistance in humans and antibiotics used in food animals. In 2015, scientists from UCSF in San Francisco urged hospitals to phase out serving meat from animals that had been given antibiotics.

Henry Ford isn't the only system that is making the switch to antibiotic-free meat. UCSF Medical Center, Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center, Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., and others have done the same.

While it may sound simple, sourcing antibiotic-free meat has proven challenging for some hospitals. Distributors don't always have the necessary supply, for instance, and some hospitals have to renegotiate food service contracts to rid its cafeterias of antibiotic-treated meat.

More articles on antibiotic resistance:
Technology and antibiotic stewardship: Top challenges & solutions
Illinois ground zero for CRE in the US, suggest Chicago physicians
From hog to human — How pigs can help fight superbugs

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