Wyandotte Hospital serving antibiotic-free poultry to curb threat of antibiotic resistance


By Jim Kasuba, The News-Herald (MI)

May 18, 2017


More and more people are concerned about antibiotic resistance, and there appears to be reason for that concern.


Henry Ford Health System is taking on antibiotic resistance, also known as “superbugs,” that claim roughly 23,000 lives and sicken 2 million people each year.


The hospital is incorporating “No Antibiotics Ever” poultry into food services for patients, employees and guests.


The new poultry is being phased in at Henry Ford’s five hospitals and cafeterias. Patients and employees at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and One Ford Place in Detroit were the first to be served antibiotic free chicken earlier this spring.


More than 100,000 patients were admitted to Henry Ford hospitals in 2015, and Henry Ford employs 24,600 people, feeding many of them in its cafeteria each day. Thousands of visitors and guest also eat Henry Ford prepared meals.


“This has the potential to bring health benefits not only to the many individuals we feed daily, all year long, but it is, we hope, a big step in lessening the greater public health threat that comes from the overuse of antibiotics in food animals,” said John Miller, director of Culinary Wellness for Henry Ford.


The poultry is provided by Perdue Harvestland and is labeled NAE — No Antibiotics Ever — the strictest classification of antibiotic-free poultry. It means chicken and turkeys raised by NAE standards were never given antibiotics, even as eggs.


Demand for antibiotic-free poultry, especially among institutional food providers such as hospitals and schools, is on the rise as a growing body of research documents the link between antibiotic resistance in humans and the use of antibiotics to raise food animals.


Overuse and overexposure to antibiotics in animals and humans leads to those antibiotics becoming ineffective, a problem being seen even with common infections.


Health Care Without Harm, a nonprofit advocate for patients, says government figures show that 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in industrial animal agriculture, not to treat infection or illness, but to promote growth by adding antibiotics to the diets of otherwise healthy food animals...