38212 - Hospitals: Food (Answered)

Rebecca Long Bailey
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what research his Department has conducted of the (a) nutritional values and (b) texture, taste and smell of hospital food prepared using a cook-chill or cook-freeze system.

George Freeman

The Department has worked with NHS England to ensure that food standards are written into the NHS Standard Contract 2016/17, the key document governing the purchase and provision of National Health Services. Irrespective of the food service type, all National Health Service providers are obliged, under the terms of their legally-binding contracts with commissioners, to adhere to the hospital food standards for the National Health Service as recommended by the Hospital Food Standards Panel in August 2014. The recommendations are published at:


It is for local NHS providers to determine which food service type they use.

Whilst the Department has not conducted specific research, the Patient-led Assessments of the Care Environment does include questions relating to:

- Compliance with the following food standards relevant to patient nutrition and hydration:

― The 10 Key Characteristics of Good Nutritional Care, (NHS England)

― Nutrition and Hydration Digest, (British Dietetic Association)

― Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool or equivalent, (British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition)

― Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services, (Defra)

― Food quality including taste, texture and temperature

- the menu as being approved by a registered dietitian as being capable of providing an appropriate balanced diet for all patients.