NDP urges Fraser Health to buy locally

The NDP is calling on the B.C. government to step into food procurement by hospitals that neighbour on key food-producing areas.

The NDP is calling on the B.C. government to step into food procurement by hospitals that neighbour on key food-producing areas of the province like the Fraser Valley.

NDP Leader Adrian Dix said in a news release that an FOI request sent to the Fraser Health Authority showed “there are no formal policies in place that involve the provincial government using its purchasing power to promote locally grown food in area hospitals, though they neighbor key areas of the Agricultural Land Reserve.”

However, the FHA’s food purchases are handled by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

“We don’t track the locally sourced food items simply because they are seasonal and we always buy in season through our contractor Gordon Food Services,” said Anna Marie D’Angelo, senior media relations officer at the VCHA.

She said local menu items served fresh include fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, peaches, blueberries and all the berries, green beans and broccoli.

Chilliwack MLA John Les, a dairy farmer turned politician, said it’s all very well to encourage individuals to buy locally, but the quantities required by health authorities and the seasonal nature of produce makes it a more complicated matter.

“I’m not aware of any producer in the Fraser Valley is geared up or able to produce food in the way or in those quantities and at the price health authorities can afford,” he said.

And at the end of the day, he said, food purchases come out of the health care budget.

“Health authorities are trying to focus as much of their budget as they can on patient care,” he said.

Les called the NDP plan “simplistic” because “when the rubber of reality hits the road, it’s not that easy” for hospitals to buy locally.

However, Dix said 33 states and provinces, including Ontario, already have policies in place for government-funded bodies to use their institutional buying power to support and promote locally grown and processed food.

“That’s what we’d like to see more of,” Dix told The Progress, adding that the FHA’s contractual agreements don’t preclude it from buying locally.

“There’s clearly room to buy local to improve the quality of food,” he added.

According to a recent survey of acute care patients in the FHA, only 54 percent of those who responded found the food served in area hospitals satisfactory.

D’Angelo suggested that’s not surprising since the sodium content of hospital food is reduced for health reasons.

“Most people’s diets are too high in sodium, so when they come to hospital they feel the food is bland,” she said.

“We are always adjusting our menus to support the better health of patients and residents, and buying local, when we are able, is one of the ways we do this,” she said.

The FHA serves about 5 million meals to patients and residents every year, she said, spending about $9.7 million.

Just Posted

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

web
Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

n
Quarry Questions: Supreme Court ruling spells concern for Mission bylaws

Judge ruled that provincial permits overrule municipal bylaws relating to mining activity

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read