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American doctors urge hospitals to stop serving processed meat to patients

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The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates recently adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to remove processed meats from their menus and instead provide plant-based meals.

The resolution, which passed in June, was co-sponsored by the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American College of Cardiology.

It stated: “RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association hereby call on US hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by (1) providing a variety of healthful food, including plant-based meals and meals that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugars, (2) eliminating processed meats from menus, and (3) providing and promoting healthful beverages.”

There has been a growing, often uphill, push in the United States to remove processed meats from hospitals there.

Earlier this year, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, Mississippi, announced it would remove hot dogs from its patient menus – making the centre the fourth hospital on the UMMC campus moving towards compliance with the American Medical Association’s recommendation on processed meat. 

Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, New York, is nearly in compliance with the new resolution. The hospital provides patients with vegetables from its rooftop garden and features healthful plant-based options on its patient menu. 

The New York Times reports that Stony Brook University Hospital’s head chef has banished bacon, soda, and hot dogs.

The Physicians Committee – a non-profit organisation of 12,000 doctors – commended the American Medical Association on its leadership in improving hospital food environments.

“Hospitals that provide and promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are likely to reduce readmissions, speed recovery times, and measurably improve the long-term health of visitors, patients, and staff,” said the Committee’s Dr James Loomis, Medical Director of the Barnard Medical Center.

In the Physicians Committee’s 2016 Hospital Food Report, Stony Brook University Hospital and Aspen Valley Hospital were tied for the top Patient Food Score.

The Physicians Committee placed a billboard near UMMC’s Batson Children’s Hospital and sent a letter urging the hospital to protect patients from hotdogs with processed meats.