CHW Takes Action for Sustainable Food Production


Nation's Eighth Largest Health System Presses Suppliers to Prohibit Animal Clone and Genetically Engineered Foods

San Francisco, CA - January 5, 2009 - Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) announced today that its food purchasing dollars will be focused on promoting sustainable food production practices, in part by seeking alternatives to foods produced with genetically engineered sugar, as well as meat and dairy produced with animal clones.

The CHW position was developed in recognition of the serious health and environmental concerns these technologies raise and the threat they pose to healthier and more sustainable food production options. Among the concerns CHW is raising about genetically engineered and cloned foods are genetic contamination, increased pesticide use, animal cruelty, and the deep ethical and moral issues associated with these untested new technologies.

CHW recently asked eight of its largest food suppliers for their policies on genetically engineered sugar beets, which are being planted for commercial use for the first time this year. Results from the survey found that its suppliers would prefer non-genetically engineered sugar beets. Only Diamond Crystal indicated their intent to avoid buying genetically engineered sugar and that they will seek out suppliers that do not use genetically engineered foods through a validation process. CHW intends next to survey its meat and dairy suppliers on their potential use of animal cloning since the U.S. FDA recently decided to allow marketing of food from animal clones.

"We are working with our purchasing organization, Premier, and developing relationships with allied healthcare partners in looking for food companies that will provide us with meat and dairy products that are not from animal cloning, and foods that are made without genetically engineered sugar beets," stated Pat Burdullis, CHW's administrator of non-clinical supply chain contracts. "If these same food companies can provide foods that are natural and non-genetically engineered for their European customers, we believe they should provide us with the same level of service."

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