Too much salt in patient food24th October 2008
Food served at three west midlands hospitals is filled with two much salt and fat, according to a leading consumer group.
Which? sent dieticians to food outlets at 21 hospitals across the UK, including Heartlands in Birmingham, Walsall Manor and New Cross in Wolverhampton.
It judged dishes against Foods Standards Agency guidelines and found 18 of the 21 main meals contained too much salt, 14 contained too much saturated fat and 11 contained too much fat.
But Manor and New Cross hospitals today defended the food they served up.
A New Cross spokesperson said: "From what I have seen about the report, it is all based on one lasagne and we do not have a canteen.
"We have an on-site Greggs bakery, cafe and a restaurant. They do serve chips because people want them, but they also offer salads, jacket potatoes and a full range of healthy options."
A spokesperson for Manor Hospital said: "It's a shame we were judged on one meal, a braised beef meal, which is a standard NHS recipe.
"It is also very disappointing because we have introduced a number of healthy meals.
"It is important to point out our menus do reflect what people ask for, but there is still a choice."
Nobody was immediately available to comment from Heartlands.
Just five of the 21 hospitals included vegetables or salad with meals, with 16 canteens charging between 30p and 90p extra for a portion on meals already costing between £2.50 and £5.00.
Nikki Ratcliff, head of services research at Which?, said: "Hospitals have a responsibility to serve and promote healthy food, so the situation at the moment is farcical.
"Although we did find some examples of good practice, our results show there's a need for better signposting and labelling to help customers eat more healthily."
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Title: Too much salt in patient food
Author: Anne Waller
Article Id: 8904
Date Added: 24th Oct 2008