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Hospital food 'too high in salt and fat

Campaigners have called on the government to introduce minimum nutritional standards for hospital food.

The call came after Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) and Sustain conducted research which they said revealed that nearly half of the main meal items that are given to children in hospital (85 of 189 surveyed) exceed the maximum school food standards for saturated fat or salt. In addition, they also claimed that nearly one in three of all menu items (132 of 451 surveyed) would be classified ‘red’ for saturated fat or salt according to the Food Standards Agency’s traffic light labelling scheme.


The new research asserted that a chicken tikka masala and rice served in a hospital contained 14 times more salt and 8.5 times more saturated fat than a chicken and vegetable balti with rice served in a school. A lasagne, meanwhile, was said to contain nearly six times more salt than a lasagne served in schools, while sticky toffee sponge pudding with butterscotch had six times more saturated fat.

[quote bottom=said Professor Graham MacGregor of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and chairman of CASH.]With everything we know about the risk of children developing high blood pressure and diet-related diseases such as obesity, it is vital to keep their consumption of salt and saturated fat as low as possible whilst still being appetising.

When such great progress has been made on what pupils are eating in school it is shocking that children in hospitals are being ignored.[/quote]

Joan Walley MP, who has introduced a new Bill to Parliament which would introduce legal nutritional standards for all food served in public sector institutions, added: “It is really important that children are served food in hospital which they like, but we must also make sure that it is nourishing and healthy for them to eat.
“The Bill I have introduced to Parliament would set nutritional standards for all food served in public sector institutions so that we can be sure our family and friends are being served food which is good for their health. The onus is now on the government to accept the Bill”