MK Hospital meals cooked in a food factory in Wales

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Patients at Milton Keynes hospital are eating meals that are up to five days old and cooked 130 miles away in South Wales.

The reheated offerings have been slammed as tasteless, soggy and definitely not what the doctor ordered.

Now patients are urging hospital bosses to spend their £3 per head per meal budget  more wisely by shopping locally for new contractors or opening their own in-house kitchens.

Currently everything apart from breakfast cereals and sandwiches is prepared and cooked in Gwent by  cook and chill experts Tillery Valley Foods.

The meat, vegetables, rice and pasta are portioned into oven-ready containers, then  blast-chilled at temperatures below 5 degrees.

Transported in chiller lorries,  it can be safely stored for up to five days before it is reheated to 75 degrees in specialist metal trolleys at the hospital.

 “By the time the trolleys get to the ward,  the meals do not look, smell or taste like fresh food at all,” said one patient.

 “I couldn’t work out why everything tasted so bad - until the nurses explained that the food had been cooked in Wales and then effectively re-cooked on the premises.”

Another patient described his cauliflower cheese lunch as “soggy little florets” swimming in a sauce that contained “microscopic” amounts of cheese.

“In my ward some 80 per cent of the food went in the bin as patients could not eat it. But it’s not surprising the food is so bad when it has travelled all the way from Wales.

“The hospital was built with its own kitchen so they could cook their own food. Or we have so many firms here in MK producing good fresh foods. Why can’t they use them?”

 A hospital spokesman confirmed the majority of meals were supplied by Tillery Valley Foods.

She said: “They are the market leader in healthcare catering and deliver nutritionally balanced meals to the hospital. Our own staff then reheat the meals.

 “In addition, our catering staff freshly make all salads, sandwiches and some of our desserts. We also have a diet chef who makes individual meals for special dietary requirements.”

The hospital serves around 500 meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day at a cost of £3 per meal.”

TVF, founded 31 years ago, provides a massive 1.5 million meals a week to 85 hospital trusts all over England and Wales.

A spokesman for the company said the food was prepared freshly according health and safety procedures were stringent.

He added: “There is a head chef who makes sure the food is nutritional, interesting, tasty and tailored to patients’ requirements.”

Milton Keynes hospital serves around 500 nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches and dinners a day to patients.

Suppliers Tillery Valley Foods provides a massive 1.5 million meals a week to 85 hospital trusts

A spokesman for the company said the food was prepared freshly and safely..

He added: “There is a head chef who makes sure the food is nutritional, interesting, tasty and tailored to patients’ requirements.”