Hospital praised for healthy meals

​UNIVERSITY Hospitals of North Midlands NHS is just the third NHS Trust in the country to achieve the prestigious Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for serving fresh and healthy meals. County Hospital in Stafford has achieved the Soil Association's Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for serving fresh and healthy meals made with local and organic ingredients.

The award is the result of 12 months hard work to improve the food provided to patients and visitors at County Hospital. This work is soon to be supported by a significant investment in the kitchens at County Hospital, which are planned to be refurbished.

The Gold Food for Life Catering Mark guarantees that all the issues have been taken care of – health, climate change and animal welfare. More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. The Catering Mark recognises food providers who prepare meals using fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients. It provides reassurance that the food County Hospital serves meets high standards of traceability, freshness and provenance.

The Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers recognise caterers who serve more locally produced, healthy and organic food. Caterers with the Gold Catering Mark use at least 15% organic ingredients as well as a selection of ingredients produced locally or in the UK, and offer healthier menus.

John Simpson, Director of Corporate Services, said: "This award is an outstanding achievement and is testament to the hard work and commitment of the catering team at County Hospital. It has been a very important 12 months for the team and the way they have implemented the plan to improve the food served to patients has been remarkable.

"There are future plans to refurbish the kitchens at County to ensure the standard of food served continues to go from strength to strength."

Rich Watts, Senior Catering Mark Manager at Soil Association Certification, said: "The Gold Catering Mark is a fantastic achievement on this scale so it's brilliant to see UHNM gaining recognition for serving great fresh meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients.

​"Serving menus to Gold Catering Mark standards can significantly reduce carbon emissions and supports local businesses so this is a win-win for planet-friendly food and the local economy. UHNM is leading the way in the drive to improve food culture in the UK."​​