Celebrity chef turns his attention to hospital food in the UK

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: April 19th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Let’s face it: Hospital food does not have a good reputation. At a time when patients are in need of nourishment, most facilities offer up mystery meat and soggy vegetables. Even worse, a growing number of hospitals lease space to fast food outlets.

In England, the situation is no better. In fact, it may be even worse than the United States. But health experts are fighting back — with the aid of a well-known celebrity chef. Jamie Oliver is a British chef who regularly appears on the Food Network. Now, the chef has paired up with health experts to revamp hospital menus throughout the UK.

Oliver and his partners in this campaign say they were horrified to see cardiac patients being served traditional English fry-ups for breakfast: a greasy combination of bacon, fried eggs, sausage and baked beans.

This is not the first time Oliver has tackled unhealthy eating. Back in 2005, he led a campaign to improve school lunches in Great Britain. This campaign resulted in the creation of tough new minimum nutritional standards.

In fact, the Consensus Action on Salt and Health recently analyzed the content of 451 meals, snacks and desserts served to children in English hospitals. They found that almost half of the meals had so much salt or saturated fat that they could not be offered to school children under the current standards. One hospital meal, a chicken and rice dish, had fourteen times more salt and eight times more fat than a similar meal served at schools.

Campaign supporters hope their efforts will result in nutritional standards similar to those imposed on school lunches.

If their efforts are successful, some nutritional experts are hoping the campaign crosses the Atlantic to the United States. Now, if they could also do something about the taste …