Frenchay and Southmead Hospitals food accredited with Silver ‘Food for Life’ Catering Mark from the Soil Association

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Frenchay and Southmead hospitals have become the only hospitals in the UK to be serving patient meals with the prestigious Silver ‘Food for Life’ Catering Mark accreditation from the Soil Association.

North Bristol NHS Trust has been awarded the Silver catering mark, recognising the hospitals commitment to providing locally sourced and freshly prepared meals to patients using only farm-assured meat, as well as 100% organic minced beef.

Each day around 2,500 patient meals are made on-site by our chefs and much of the food comes from the local area – reducing the Trust’s carbon footprint and supporting local businesses.

In the last survey of inpatients, 93% said their hospital meals were good or excellent.

The Silver Food for Life catering mark was awarded for our patient meals that provide:

  • A high proportion of freshly prepared dishes for example Vegetable Cottage Pie, Chicken Korma or Braised Beef & Mushrooms.
  • Farm Assured meat
  • Free range eggs
  • Free of undesirable additives
  • "A la carte" menus catering for different religious and cultural beliefs and for those who require specialised diets
  • 100% organic mince beef from John Sheppard in Ashley Parade, Bristol
  • Ice cream from Marshfield Farm, near Bath
  • Family-run Gundenham Dairy in Wellington supplies our milk from a herd of 350 Holstein Friesians, grazing on 500 acres of Somerset pastureland.
  • Bread and cakes come from a local bakery in Yatton, North Somerset.
  • Wiltshire Farm assured ham and cheese from Somerset
  • Fish and fish dishes are from sustainable stocks and come from a supplier in St Philip’s, Bristol.

Simon Wood, Director of Facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “The most important factor about the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association is that it provides assurance to our patients that their meals will be of the highest quality and that we know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from.

“Ensuring that fresh, local and quality food is the focus of our menus is so important in nutritional terms for the well-being and recovery of patients while they are with us in hospital.

“To gain this accreditation our processes and menus have been through strict audits by the Soil Association so we are really proud to have gained the Silver Food for Life catering mark.

“It is such a fantastic achievement to be the only hospital trust serving Silver Food for Life accredited meals to patients.

“The cost to the Trust of this approach has been minimal and in some cases we have saved money by switching to a local supplier, as well as seeing a reduction in our carbon footprint.”

Rob Sexton, CEO of Soil Association Certification, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for North Bristol NHS Trust to have gained the Silver Catering Mark for their hospital food. 

“Patients in Frenchay and Southmead hospitals are unique in being served food that meets the very demanding standards required to reach Silver: freshly prepared, seasonal, local and organic, that is traceable from the farm to the fork.

“We’d like to thank North Bristol NHS Trust for leading the way on hospital food for the people of Bristol, and providing an inspiring example for other hospitals.”

The hospitals 100% organic minced beef is supplied by John Sheppard Butchers, in Ashley Parade, Bristol.

Richard Sheppard, managing director, said: "We are proud to be the local supplier working with North Bristol NHS Trust for Frenchay and Southmead Hospitals.

“As a company, we look forward to continue our long and successful relationship with these forward looking, local hospitals to provide good, healthy, wholesome food."


About the Food for Life Catering Mark

The Catering Mark was launched in February 2009 by the Soil Association to provide an independent guarantee of the issues that are important to hospital patients and other consumers: health, animal welfare, and planet-friendly food.  Amongst other requirements:

  • Meals are freshly prepared, with seasonal ingredients.
  • Eggs are from cage-free hens and meat is from animals farmed to British welfare standards.
  • No endangered fish is served.
  • Menus are free from undesirable additives and GM ingredients.

The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers encourage caterers to make step-by-step progress towards using more local, free range, fair trade and organic ingredients to produce healthier menus.

Watch snippets from ITV West Country's report here.