NBT hospital meals awarded by Soil Association

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

North Bristol NHS Trust has become the first NHS organisation in the south of England to receive the prestigious Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association for its patient meals.
The award has been given in recognition of the Trust’s commitment to providing a high proportion of freshly prepared dishes using only farm-assured meat. This means all meat comes from businesses where UK minimum standards on animal welfare are being met.
In addition, much of the food now comes from the local area – reducing the Trust’s carbon footprint and supporting local businesses.
The catering mark will be officially presented to North Bristol NHS Trust on Wednesday, September 2 at Trust Headquarters, Frenchay Hospital by Dr Gabriel Scally, the Regional Director of Public Health, whose remit includes healthy eating. Representatives from the local suppliers will also be there, enabling staff and guests to sample their food.
Some of the measures adopted by the Trust to get the accreditation are as follows:
- The Trust has teamed up with Marshfield Farm, near Bath, to provide a specially produced ice cream for our patients who have commented on its ‘better taste’. Using Marshfield Farm has significantly reduced the amount of food miles – previously ice cream was delivered to NBT from Bolton after being made in Europe.
- The family-run Gundenham Dairy in Wellington now supplies milk. This comes from a herd of 350 Holstein Friesians, grazing on 500 acres of Somerset pastureland. The milk is pasteurised but not homogenised, leaving bottles with a creamy top.
- Bread and cakes come from a local bakery in Yatton, North Somerset.
- All eggs used in catering for both patients and the restaurant are now free range – the Food for Life catering mark requires eggs from cage-free hens. In addition, only Wiltshire Farm assured ham and cheese from Somerset are now used.
- 75 percent of dishes on the patient menu are freshly prepared on-site using high quality ingredients and all food containing undesirable additives are no longer used.
- Fish and fish dishes are from sustainable stocks and come from a local supplier in St Philip’s, Bristol. Locally produced, 80 percent meat content sausages and 85 percent meat content beef burgers have been introduced.

Simon Wood, Director of Facilities, said: “This really is a fantastic achievement and all credit must go to my catering departments at Frenchay and Southmead for their hard work and dedication in getting this new scheme off the ground.
“The food at North Bristol has been consistently rated as excellent and our food preparation and serving areas have received the highest hygiene ratings from our local councils’ environmental health teams.
“The cost to the Trust of this new approach has been minimal and in some cases we have saved money by switching to a local supplier, not to mention the reduction in our carbon footprint.
“The prestigious Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association provides assurance to our patients that their meals will be of the very highest quality.”

John Cottrell from Gundenham Dairy, said: “As a well-established local business we are delighted to have been selected by North Bristol NHS Trust to be a supply partner under the "Food for Life" initiative.
“It demonstrates that with some forward thinking, team effort and a will to succeed it is possible to produce good, locally sourced and environmentally friendly meals within tight budgets. Congratulations to the North Bristol Trust on achieving the award - we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”

Jo Lewis, Food for Life Partnership, Head of Policy, said: "The Soil Association is delighted that North Bristol NHS Trust has achieved our Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark - only the second hospital trust in the country to do so. This not only means that patients are able to look forward to freshly prepared meals, free from hydrogenated fats and undesirable additives, to aid their recovery.
“It also means that the Trust is being a good corporate citizen, supporting local producers of quality produce and taking action to reduce its carbon footprint. We hope that many more hospitals around the country will take confidence from their example and follow in their footsteps.”