It’s bad enough that Australian hospitals serve raw sprouts to the ill and infirmed, a leading aged care provider in Australia has dictated to kitchen staff to “reuse” and “reheat” leftover food.
Kitchen staff at Blue Care’s Wynnum facility have been told in a memorandum obtained by The Courier-Mail that “all left over food items should be getting sent back to the Main Kitchen, so the Cooks can determine if we can reuse.”
After inquiries from The Courier-Mail, Blue Care’s executive director Robyn Batten said the memo had been investigated and it is “poorly worded” and not indicative of the organisation’s policy or practices in any kitchen.
The memo, written by the facility’s hospitality team leader, includes a handwritten extra note that specifies to “reheat food.”
“The memo refers to returning food to the kitchen. However, the purpose of this is not for re-use, but to determine the amount of wastage, identify popular dishes and spot over production in the kitchen,” Ms Batten said. “It is also a good way of monitoring if residents are eating an adequate diet to support their nutritional requirements.”
The memo also tells kitchen staff: “Please be advised under no circumstance that any food item that has been prepared and cooked in the Main kitchen should be getting taken home.”
Ms Batten said she was “not aware” of issues with staff taking home food prepared for residents.
Bluecare is Australia’s largest not for profit provider of aged, disability and community services.
The site at Wynnum generates 158 meals three times a day.
Ms Batten said the Wynnum kitchen passed food safety audits.
That should provide absolutely no assurance of anything: Guess they haven’t heard about the problems with audits.
Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy chief executive officer Geoff Rowe said there would be significant concerns if food was being reheated with elderly people particularly vulnerable to bacterial illness.
“Of concern if we’re talking about reheated foods … the bacteria and stuff, they’re the sorts of risks,” he said.
Chief Executive of Council of the Aging Mark Tucker-Evans said food quality and safety needed to be of upmost importance at aged care facility.