The Fachklinik Gaissach hospital has been progressively working on the reduction of the meat content in meals and improving the nutritional value of the servings, and has reduced food waste by 30% over three years.
The Fachklinik Gaissach hospital is a rehabilitation clinic for chronic diseases for children, teenagers and adults in Bavaria, Germany. The hospital, which is a member of the GGHH Network, welcomes approximately 2,600 patients and serves around 234,000 meals annually.
In recent years, the hospital has been progressively working on the reduction of the meat content in meals, and improving the nutritional value of the servings. The team that developed the project started by introducing one meat-free day per week, an initiative that was accompanied by a strong awareness and education campaign
In 2019, the average meat consumption per person in Germany was 59.5 kg/year – almost four times more than the recommended average (15.6 kg/year).
First, the team worked with hospital staff on the health impacts of meat consumption and its consequences on the environment and biodiversity through a series of conferences and workshops. Then, the initiative was presented to patients and their families, who joined at their timings.
The project has grown and now includes different approaches to reduce carbon emissions, food waste, single-use plastics, and the ambition to buy local produce by engaging with local producers and farmers. The hospital has already started to remove endangered animal products, such as tuna or palm oil, and has also reduced food waste by 30% over three years.
According to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Mitigation of Climate Change, “Diets high in plant protein and low in meat and dairy are associated with lower GHG emissions”, and “Benefits would also include reduced land occupation and nutrient losses to the surrounding environment, while at the same time providing health benefits and reducing mortality from diet-related non-communicable diseases”.
“It can work. It can become a reality if you are fully committed to getting it working. This commitment enables you to overcome various barriers and show that there are nutritional and health impacts,” explains Edda Weimann, medical director of Fachklinik Gaissach.
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