Dear Editor: I was dismayed to see Lindsay Christian’s May 16 article “UW Health shifts focus from local food” since I have been in charge of food operations for six years and there has been no shift away from using local products, nor any change in our commitment to a local spend of at least 20 percent of our total food budget.
With an operation serving nearly 2.5 million meals a year, we make decisions on our food service based on the quality of the product, whether it sells, whether the vendor can provide the needed amounts, and equity in our use of local vendors and products. While some local vendors have been discontinued, others have been added. This is not a change from previous practice.
In cases where growers have perishable food or large amounts of items due to our volume, we commit to purchasing the remaining items, and we notify the growers via formal business letter before their growing season if we don’t plan to purchase from them so they can plan their season accordingly.
With an inaccurate headline and only partial details about culinary services at UW Health, the story only served to perpetuate misinformation.
I invite anyone interested to follow us on Facebook @UWHealthEats to learn about our work with local vendors, the healthy food options we have available for patients, visitors and employees and the community work we do to support health and well-being.
Director of Culinary and Clinical Nutrition Services, UW Health
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