From Jane Wills
The South West Branch held its last meeting at The Royal United Hospital in Bath, kindly hosted by Sarah Wingfield, the hospital’s Food Hygiene Training & Audit Manager.
In the morning we had four very informative presentations, starting off with Elliot Perry from Datasym. Elliot spoke about the benefits of being able to order meals closer to each meal time using Menumate, to ensure the correct meal goes to the patient and that there is a reduction in wasted meals. Elliot explained that a bespoke system can be set up to satisfy the needs of individual hospitals, with the ordering system including a checking system that ensures no patient misses a meal, and a traffic light system that enables progress around the hospital to be tracked.
Mark Moran from Hydrate for Health Ltd then demonstrated a new product that he designed following a stay in hospital. During his stay he became very aware how vital good hydration was to the recovery process. The Water drop system comprises a 1 litre bag of water that is hung on a drip stand with a tube feed for the patient to drink from; ice can be added to the water to cool it down for the patient. A hydration bottle has also been produced with a similar tube feed. This has the potential to help avoid using an IV drip to rehydrate patients, which, in turn, reduces the cost and the use of plastics involved with an IV. There is also the added benefit of it being kinder for the patient.
Zoe Farmer and Amy Gaudier Porter from Nim’s crisps spoke about Nim’s and the fruit and vegetable crisps they produce. Local and wonky fruit and vegetables are purchased within 40 miles of the factory, and all products are air dried in an allergen-free factory. All of the products – with the exception of pineapple – are unpeeled and, therefore, 100 per cent of the raw product is used and little waste is created. Other products available include edible tea, infusion slices and Hawkers potato and soya crisps. New flavours, share bags and multipacks are currently being launched.
Sarah Wingfield then spoke about the introduction of Natasha’s Law, which is going to be implemented by Summer 2021. This follows the sad death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and ensures all pre-packaged foods – sandwiches prepared on site but also items such as in house salads – are fully labelled with all ingredients and allergens in the future. The Law is still in draft form but it will govern how food produced inhouse must be labelled. This will potentially have a big implication to caterers nationwide, including hospital caterers.
After an enjoyable lunch, our Branch meeting was held, then we went off for a night at Bath races, where, in addition to the racing, three tribute bands played late into the night. An enjoyable and productive day was had by all.