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Nutritional Standards for catering in Health and Social Care

Northern Ireland

Updated Nutritional Standards have been introduced, designed to make the food on offer for staff and visitors in health and social care, hospital restaurants, cafés, vending machines and retail outlets healthier.

Last updated: 3 March 2022

Settings such as restaurants, coffee shops and workplace canteens, including those in the health service, can impact on the quality of the food we eat and how much we eat through the food choices they offer.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), Public Health Agency (PHA) and safefood have jointly produced the attached Nutritional Standards in partnership with Health and Social Care colleagues, so that healthier food choices are in place for staff and visitors in health and social care settings, which include private retail and vending machines on HSC premises.

The Nutritional Standards are food based standards and were originally, introduced in 2017. They have been updated to take into account the latest evidence and guidance. This has led to, for example, increasing fruit and vegetables and wholegrains while decreasing the amount of saturated fat, salt and processed meats. In addition to specific guidance for each food group, the Standards now also address the topics of vending and the food environment.

The standards do not apply to patient food and beverage provision where therapeutic intervention is required.