Reilly hits out at HSE over junk food plans
HEALTH Minister James Reilly has rebuked the Health Service Executive (HSE) over plans to serve up junk food to patients.
Dr Reilly revealed he is to hold talks with the HSE about the tender it issued for the supply of almost 90 tonnes of frozen chips, 62,000 sausage rolls and other highly processed foods for public patients over the next four years.
The minister said he could not agree to moves to have hospital patients and elderly nursing homes dining on high-fat, calorie-laden foods.
"It is not what I would want to see served in hospitals," said Dr Reilly, who was hosting a meeting of EU ministers in Dublin Castle to discuss childhood obesity and other public health threats.
The junk food menu proposed by the HSE would not be suitable for cardiac patients and it is the "last thing they should be eating", he added.
He said he intends to make his feelings known to the HSE and points out that a stay in hospital should be a chance to educate people about healthy eating.
The HSE has still only tendered for the food contracts and has not yet entered any agreements with companies, he pointed out.