Organic Consumers Association

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California: Bay Area Hospitals Take Healthy Food Pledge

Nine Bay Area hospitals -- three John Muir Health sites in Concord and Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Redwood City's Sequoia Hospital, and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco -- are part of a national effort to purchase local produce, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and meats and sustainably grown seafood. A host of other Catholic Healthcare West facilities, in addition to Sequoia, Saint Francis and St. Mary's, are also part of the effort.

All told, 127 hospitals nationwide have signed the "Healthy Foods in Healthcare Pledge," an effort supported by the Health Care Without Harm coalition and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Eighty hospitals are buying up to 40 percent of produce locally, more than 90 are buying hormone-free milk, all have increased purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables, and 50 are buying meat produced without use of antibiotics or hormones.

"Many facilities for one reason or another haven't formally signed the pledge," but are supporting the effort, said Lena Brook, a spokeswoman for Physicians for Social Responsibility's local chapter. Unofficial local participants include Kaiser Permanente; the University of California, San Francisco; and the VA Medical Center in San Francisco.

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