According to reports, hospitals across Britain are serving food imported from China and Thailand instead of making patients' meals from local produce. This means that millions of pounds are wasted in the process, says a study by The Soil Association, a UK-based membership charity that campaigns for organic food and farming.
The study, which was reported by the Daily Mail, revealed that the NHS Supply Chain, which sources food for many hospitals, buys 95 percent of its fish and a third of processed potatoes from outside the UK. In fact, out of a total of 150 meat contracts awarded in 2008-09, only two were given to British sources.
According to another report in the Sun, one NHS Trust has dished up meals containing fish shipped from a Far East country to China, where it was de-boned and then sent to Britain.
An earlier study by the King's Fund into NHS meals reported cases where beef was imported from Argentina and lamb flown in from New Zealand. They calculated that steak and kidney pie ingredients travelled an astonishing 19,300 miles.
The survey by The Soil Association also found that a third of hospital meals were considered inedible by patients and two-thirds ask friends and family to bring food from outside. They have included photographs taken by relatives that revealed poorly cooked and fatty meats, along with sloppy and unappetizing pies.