Beginning on Oct. 1, more hospitals will have access to more sustainably produced chicken, thanks to an agreement between Premier healthcare alliance and Murray's Chicken of South Fallsburg, N.Y.
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), an international coalition of more than 473 organizations in 52 countries, applauded the first-of-its-kind step toward sustainable foodservice in Premier member hospitals and healthcare sites across the country.
Murray's chicken is raised on Pennsylvania farms and processed in New York state. In addition to producing its chicken without the use of antibiotics and arsenic, Murray's production methods have also been certified to meet the Humane Farm Animal Care Certified Humane Raised & Handled standards.
Premier's contract with Murray's Chicken will make sustainably produced chicken more accessible and affordable not only to hospitals, but to other institutional Premier alliance members, as well. Members will be able to access these products through U.S. Foodservice, Premier's primary distributor.
This contract is a significant decision for hospitals around the country striving to create sustainable foodservice options, noted Gary Cohen, HCWH's executive director. "The routine use of antibiotics and arsenic compounds in chicken production is unnecessary and an ongoing health concern," he said. "We are very pleased that Premier is leading the sustainability effort by providing their members with this healthier, more sustainable chicken option, and we hope that other purchasing organizations will follow their lead."
Pat Burdullis, supply chain administrator for Catholic Healthcare West, a 41-hospital health system that serves Arizona, California and Nevada, observed, "As a health care provider, we are committed to preventing illness and creating a healthier food system, and we are pleased that Premier is helping us to make that possible."
Through its Healthy Food in Health Care Program, HCWH and its partner organizations have been working to achieve this result for more than six years.
"Many hospitals have wanted to buy these products, but the increased cost and lack of availability through their mainline distributors have been significant barriers," said Marie Kulick, sustainable procurement advisor for HCWH. "We really hope that these hospitals will now take full advantage of this healthier option as it is more readily available and a better price."