Hospital Kitchens Fail To Meet Basic Hygiene Levels

Almost half of all hospital kitchens in England are failing to meet basic standards of cleanliness, with evidence of medical waste found on food handling equipment, staff with poor standards of hygiene and infestations of cockroaches and mice, according to inspection reports.

Inspections at 377 hospitals in England revealed that nearly one-fifth of hospitals were failing to store food at the correct temperature and 18 contained food that was out of date. The findings are the result of a Freedom of Information request submitted to a quarter of all English local authorities requesting health inspection reports into food preparation areas in hospitals. Cockroaches, mouse droppings and vermin were found at 11 of the hospitals and 173 displayed poor cleanliness. Sixty-eight fell below the legal requirements for food storage conditions, and 57 had staff with poor personal hygiene.

The reports detailed examples of milk stored in the drug freezer of a radiology department and inspectors visiting the Mayday University Hospital in Croydon found a syringe and needle on a supper tray.

Norman Lamb, health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Sick people are already vulnerable to infection. They don’t need the added risk of food-borne bacteria spread by lax standards.

The Food Standards Agency said it would take up “significant hygiene problems” with local councils.