Pies, pasties and juice among food banned from Gwent hospitals
CAKES, pre-wrapped sandwiches, pies, pasties, pick ’n’ mix sweets and even the juice of the humble grapefruit are among a range of foods that visitors are being urged NOT to bring in as treats for patients on Gwent hospital wards.
The banned foods are included on a new leaflet produced by Aneurin Bevan Health Board, which highlights ‘high risk’ food items which could be a source of infection.
Patients can still have visitors bring in food for them, but health board chiefs are keen they be restricted to items on a list of permitted foods.
These incl u d e : wrapped fresh fruit; prepacked muff ins, tea cakes, pancakes or scones; pre-wrapped nuts and seeds; prewrapped biscuits, crackers and cakes, the latter not to include fresh or artificial cream; and pre-wrapped chocolates or sweets.
The leaflet describes some foods as not suitable: “Some patients are very susceptible to illness, such as food poisoning, and certain foods, if kept in the wrong conditions, could lead to them becoming ill.”
Other prohibited foods include raw meat or fish, cooked meat and poultry, yoghurts, mousse, cakes and other foods containing fresh or artificial cream products, pre-wrapped sandwiches, irrespective of fillings, large cartons of fruit juice and foods needing refrigeration or heating.
Many of these, if not stored in the right conditions or consumed in a timely manner, are capable of supporting the growth of bugs capable of causing food poisoning.
As well as being potentially harmful to already unwell patients, such cases can cause disruption, with wards having to be closed to new admissions or patients having to be moved.
The humble grapefruit is singled out for specific mention, with cartons of its juice a particular no-no, as grapefruit can interact with a number of medications, interfering with their effects.
These include arrhythmia drugs, some sedatives, and statins. Another issue is storage space – individual packets of crisps are fine, but boxes or multipacks are not.
Cathy O’Sullivan, chief officer at Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council, said: “The list of prohibited food does contain a number of tasty options which people could be tempted to bring in for patients. But the overriding responsibility for the hospital is to keep people well and infectionfree, and ensure that nothing interferes with their recovery.”
Permitted foods – these CAN be brought in:
● Wrapped fresh fruit and fruit products, dried fruit, tubs of pre-packed fruit;
● Pre-packed muffins, tea cakes, pancakes, scones or similar;
● Pre-wrapped nuts and seeds (provided the patient does not have related allergies);
● Pre-wrapped biscuits, crackers and cakes (not fresh or artificial cream);
● Pre-wrapped chocolate or sweets;
● Packets of crisps (individual), popcorn, pretzels;
● Bottled drinks, (plastic only), for example: squash or carbonates.
● Small quantities of fruit juice or smoothies;
● Preserves, for example: jam, marmalade, honey, Marmite, Bovril (in small plastic jars).
Prohibited foods – these CANNOT be brought in:
● Raw meat or fish, cooked meat and poultry, fresh meat products, for example: gravy, soups and stock;
● Fresh or artificial cream products, for example: yoghurts, mousse, cakes and ice cream;
● Pre-wrapped sandwiches (all fillings);
● Items with added alcohol, for example: chocolate liqueurs, stollen and similar festive foods;
● Pick ’n’ mix sweets;
● Full boxes of crisps or multi-packs;
● Large cartons of fruit juice, grapefruit juice, milkshakes;
● Any other food item which requires refrigeration or heating, for example: pies, pasties, sausage rolls, cheese, eggs, scotch eggs. Take-away meals including pizzas, beefburgers and kebabs.