Healthcare facilities across Europe are recognizing that the food system — how our food is produced and distributed — is misaligned with dietary guidelines, and is largely reliant on methods of production and distribution that harm public and environmental health.
A succession of surveys and official reports has highlighted public dissatisfaction with the food on offer and concern among regulators that the health of patients is being undermined. It is not only public health that is influenced by the meals being served on the wards. The food that hospitals choose to procure and the way it is produced, processed and transported can have a profound effect on the environment. Over 30% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the food and drink sector.
The poor quality of food served in many of Europe’s hospitals has become a cause for increasing concern as the links between an unhealthy diet and serious medical conditions has become blatantly clear. Many hospitals have already removed their deep fryers, established farmer markets and replaced unhealthy snacks in vendor machines, and more and more are buying fresh food that is grown in sustainable ways in the local community.
By adopting healthy food purchasing policies, healthcare organizations are demonstrating a commitment to HCWH's mandate - first, do no harm - and treating food, its production and its distribution as preventive medicine that protects the health of patients, staff and communities.