U.K. Hospitals Throw Out 82K Meals Every Day

Some hospitals throw out a quarter of meals uneaten

Hospital food isn’t known for being particularly delicious, but some reformers are campaigning for an overhaul of the hospital food situation in the U.K., as studies indicate that hospitals there are throwing out more than 82,000 uneaten meals every day.

Additionally, a recent survey indicated that two-thirds of all hospital personnel said they would be unhappy to eat the food they served patients.

According to the study, between 1992 and 2013 there have been 21 different initiatives designed to improve the quality of hospital food so that people will eat it, but so far they haven't had much success with voluntary food improvement initiatives. Celebrity chefs Albert Roux, John Benson-Smith, Mark Hix, Anton Edelmann, and Heston Blumenthal were all tapped to try to improve the quality of British hospital food, The Guardian reports.

Some campaigners have suggested that a mandatory minimum standard for hospital food, like that in place at schools, would go a long way to cut back on the tremendous amount of food waste.

"Part of the problem is the huge amount of money paid to outside caterers who inflate their costs and use the cheapest ingredients," said Alex Jackson, coordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. But he says the problem of wasted food is not just about a lack of quality.

"There is a problem with the way the food is served," Jackson said. "It's usually done by medical staff who have other priorities. And often inappropriate food is served to people who have specific medical and healthcare needs."

Part of the problem could be that patients are currently served from pre-assigned portions at specific times, regardless of whether or not they're hungry at that time.

"A menu system allowing patients to order their food early on each day would cut out large amounts of waste," said Andy Jones, chairman of the National Hospital Caterers Association.

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