Region | In Marseille, the public hospital is preparing to ban red meat for patients
It is well known, we do not send Bocuse to the hospital, especially in times of budgetary scarcity. Between overorders and patients who do not touch them, 30% of the trays are thrown away intact. Hospital junk food is a real concern: “We have malnourished patients who no longer eat hospital food. We can’t go on like this anymore“, confided a few months ago François Crémieux, the director of the CHU.
It is not only the health of patients, but that of the whole planet, which is now leading the AP-HM to completely review its menus. Big polluters, hospitals want to play their part in the decarbonization of the economy (read below). And this goes, in particular, through food. Good news : “what’s good for the planet is also good for physical and mental health!”, summarizes Guillaume Fond, psychiatrist (1), head of a project that will put the revolution in meal trays. Through the food-nutrition liaison committee (Clan), dieticians, nutritionists and doctors now assess each food through the prism of its carbon footprint.
Starting with the red meat, or rather the nervous, flat and gray barbaque, usually served to patients…”Red meat has the highest carbon impact of the diet. Tests carried out at Brest University Hospital have shown that removing 10 grams of beef per dish allowed a reduction of 350 kg of CO2 for 1,000 meals“, explains Guillaume Fond.
But the AP-HM wants to go further, by removing red meat from all its meals. A measure which should be included in the recommendations of the French hospital federation (FHF, bringing together the directors of establishments), and imitated by all hospitals.
Eventually, it is even the consumption of all meat products that is targeted. “International recommendations estimate that a maximum of 500 grams of meat should be consumed per week. The French eat three times more on average, or 1.6 kilos. The average length of hospital stay being five to seven days, reducing this consumption does not require a great effort.“Thus, from next July, only midday meals will include a meat product.”In the evening, patients will have an all-vegetarian meal, with no meat or fish.“To ensure the necessary protein intake, cereals and legumes will take over, which involves new recipes: inspired by Lebanese, Asian or West Indian cuisines, couscous/falafels, vegetable lasagna, or coconut beans are making an arrival in strength in the trays. Trays which, too, should be scrapped.”We want to get out of plastic, but bamboo poses problems for the long preservation of food“, explains Guillaume Fond. If the solution of cold meals can be considered in summer, the AP-HM is considering the return of… ceramic plates to the patient’s bed.
Good for mental health
Products that are too sweet or ultra-processed (such as the essential breakfast rusk with jam) should also disappear from hospital menus, in favor of cereals, fresh products, if possible produced locally. “It has now been perfectly demonstrated that the daily consumption of fruit reduces the risk of depression by 15%, that of vegetables, including frozen foods, reduces it by 9%. insists Guillaume Fond.
Good for health and for the planet, this new food deal is therefore also good for morale. And painless for the finances of the AP-HM since this transformation must be done at constant cost. Finally, taste, it can’t be worse…
1. Author of the book “Eating well so as not to be depressed”. Ed. Odile Jacob.