Hospital food overhaul urged

fruitHe’s like the Jamie Oliver of hospital food.

A UK-based “better hospital food” advocate is bringing his campaign to Ontario, calling for fresh, local food to be served.

“It seems to me as if hospitals in Ontario are at the beginning of the journey of becoming more like England,” said Alex Jackson, “and that’s a very dangerous path to go down.”

In the UK, more than 82,000 patient meals are wasted daily, said Jackson, who’s with a group called Sustain.

Its campaign for better hospital food began in 2012 and aims to get the UK government to introduce mandatory nutritional, environmental and ethical standards for food served to patients in England’s hospitals.

The worst offenders are microwaved meals, often in one dish.

Bangers and mash are repulsive, said Jackson, noting it’s often “lowest quality” sausage.

“The meal is disgusting,” he said.

Thousands of meals are also tossed out from Ontario hospitals, and according to Louis Rodrigues, a former hospital chef and regional vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, facilities should be serving locally grown food that’s cooked in-house, but “more and more, they’re not.”

Rodrigues led a local hospital food campaign to keep patient meals in-house at Kingston General Hospital.

The hospital contracted out patient food to a multi-national factory food operation west of Toronto and prepared food is now trucked along Hwy. 401.

Jackson is touring Ontario for the next nine days.

Twitter: @kellyroche6

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