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30 August 2014 | Will Green
All hospitals should develop a food and drink strategy that takes into account sustainable procurement, according to experts.
An independent report into hospital food standards said there is “no single route to a more sustainable NHS food service” but all hospitals should adopt the Government Buying Standard for Food and Catering Services and the British Dietetic Association’s Nutrition and Hydration Digest.
The report, by the Hospital Food Standards Panel, an independent group established by the Department of Health (DH), said buyers have the potential to “shape the way our food is grown, supplied and prepared” and purchases should be made “with regard to their impact on the environment and wider society”.
“Because of the wide range of different good and catering systems, there is no single route to a more sustainable NHS food service and a hospital-wide food and drink strategy will play a key role in helping organisations to find the solution that works for them,” it said.
The report said the DH and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) should continue working together to develop and trial a procurement toolkit and a monitoring system should be considered. The potential to further reduce food waste should also be explored.
Maya de Souza, head of sustainable public procurement at Defra, said: “Hospitals are major procurers in their local areas and have the potential to shape the way our food is grown, supplied and prepared. This can be done in a way that ensures good stewardship of our agricultural land and natural resources, respect for animal welfare, avoidance of waste and obtaining wider economic and social value such as jobs and training. All this is important to the health and wellbeing of patients and staff.”