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Hospitals and care homes are failing food safety inspections


Hospitals

(NaturalNews) Any time food safety concerns take the spotlight, such as in the recent listeria-related food recalls, people are often warned that it is the sick and elderly who are most vulnerable. You would think, therefore, that the standards in kitchens that cater to this segment of the population might be held to a higher standard, but recent findings show that some of these environments have barely any standards at all.

Data from the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) show that care homes actually have the worst records when it comes to meeting food hygiene standards out of all the various care provider types. More than 200 nursing and residential care homes were given low grades at their most recent food safety inspections. This was followed, quite disturbingly, by nurseries, childcare centers, hospices and churches, among others. The FSA has vowed that it will take the necessary action to make sure that these issues are addressed.

Their system uses a scale of one to five to rank food providers, with five being the top score. A score of one or two is considered a failure, and zero signifies that the establishment in question "urgently requires improvement."

Among those receiving a score of zero are a nursery in Leicestershire that had a mouse infestation, and a Welsh primary school that served high-risk foods like salad wraps and ham without the proper facilities for their safe preparation. Some of the care homes that scored zero had moldy food, cross-contamination between cooked and raw food, and improper hand washing facilities. A total of 19 hospitals and other NHS facilities in the country got scores of between zero and two, which is simply unacceptable.

Violations found in Illinois and Pennsylvania hospitals

This problem is also not uncommon in the U.S. A report by CBS 2 Chicago that examined 12 area hospitals, found a number of critical food violations. As if this weren't bad enough, bureaucratic problems meant that some hospital kitchens did not have any oversight whatsoever, so no one knows just how bad things are there or how many patients could be at risk. While the city thought the state government was inspecting these kitchens, the state was under the impression that the city was taking care of it, leaving it completely unchecked. The biggest losers in this scenario are the patients.

The violations at the John H. Stroger Jr. hospital were far from minor, with a broken dishwasher failing to properly sanitize dishes and chicken being stored at unsafe temperatures. Resurrection Hospital had a number of food temperature violations, which means that the food could well harbor bacteria and make patients even sicker on top of whatever ailment they were hospitalized for in the first place.

Last year, city health inspectors closed an eatery and issued several citations at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, after finding a number of violations. Some of the issues included an employee who did not have food handling certification, the absence of towels at the sink used for hand washing, a lack of sanitization for dishes, and pink slime and black residue discovered inside an ice machine.

Bring in your own food if possible

While it might be unsettling to learn that hospitals and other care providers cannot be trusted to follow basic food safety guidelines, knowledge is power. What can you do to avoid this situation? Ask to see the most recent safety inspection records for any facility where you or a loved one might be staying, and try to bring in your own food if possible, whether it's organic fruit and vegetables you grew yourself, or chicken noodle soup prepared lovingly in your grandmother's immaculate kitchen.

Remember that picking up some packaged food from the grocery store and bringing it to the hospital won't make the situation much better, as such foods often contain hidden toxins. If you do have to eat the food that is served in these facilities, be vigilant. Hot foods should be served piping hot, and cold foods should be cold. If you have any concerns whatsoever, be sure to raise them with food safety authorities immediately.

Sources include:

TheGuardian.com

Philly.com' target='_blank'>http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20151211...

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/03/09/2-inv... target="_blank">Chicago.CBSLocal.com

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