A new investigation has shown that hospital canteens are serving food that breaches government guidelines for salt and fat.
Dieticians acting on behalf of consumer watchdog Which? visited 21 hospitals across the UK, describing the situation they found in canteens as “farcical”.
When judged against Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines, 18 of the 21 main meals (86%) were found to contain too much salt, 14 (67%) contained too much saturated fat and 11 (52%) contained too much fat.
All hospitals visited by the dieticians provided vegetarian hot meals, Which? said, although in 13 cases these were cheese-based and high in fat.
Meanwhile, only four of the 21 hospitals in the investigation signposted a healthy option on their menu.
Vegetables or salad were included with meals at only five of the 21 hospitals, with the other 16 charging between 30p and 90p extra for a portion on meals already costing between £2.50 and £5.
However, the Which? research did find examples of good practice, with two hospitals – East Surrey Hospital and University College Hospital, London – providing meals within FSA guidelines.
Another three hospitals provided nutrition labelling allowing customers to choose healthier options, and five had healthy eating promotions around the hospital.
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