Video of mouldy bread prompts Canberra Hospital food review

Canberra Hospital is reviewing its food safety and quality processes after images of mouldy bread found in one of its kitchens were shared on social media.

Video of flies circling loaves of mouldy bread in the hospital's paediatric ward were posted to Facebook on the weekend, along with videos of frozen chicken, salad and rice, which had been served to a young patient.

In a post accompanying the videos, the mother of the young patient said the quality of food at the hospital had deteriorated to the extent that it potentially posed a health risk.

"The Canberra Hospital food used to be amazing but over the last 3 years I’ve noticed changes," she said in the post. "Today it has really tipped over to the health risk side of concerning. I went to the kitchen in paeds [sic] surgical ward. The bread is mouldy and has fruit flies, the fridge is full of things including way too much milk - all thrown in together - with the watermelon that looks like it’s been there for weeks.

Loaves of mouldy bread were found at Canberra Hospital on the weekend.  Photo: Supplied

Loaves of mouldy bread were found at Canberra Hospital on the weekend. Photo: Supplied

The mother said her son, who has congenital heart disease, deserved better, "as did his fabulous doctors and nurses who make do and still provide us with excellent medical assistance".

She later updated the post, saying a representative from the hospital's food services team had visited the family and agreed to address their concerns.

A Canberra Health Services spokesman confirmed it had removed loaves of mouldy bread from the kitchen on November 3, but insisted the incident was an "extremely isolated circumstance".

The spokesman said the bread had been quickly thrown out and not served to any patients.

He said the hospital took feedback from patients and families very seriously and had committed to reviewing its food quality and safety processes, including for pantry delivery and restocking, in light of the mother's concerns.

The hospital received 51 complaints relating to food quality between November 2017 and October 2018.

The spokesman said the complaints related to a "very small proportion" of the 1.3 million meals served to patients in 2017-18.

The hospital spends an average of $41 per patient each day on food.

The spokesman said the hospital's new chef, who began in August, was overseeing changes to patient menus, including the introduction of seasonal vegetables.

"Improving food quality is a continuous process," the spokesman said. "Healthy nutritious food is an essential part of patient recovery and [the hospital] seeks to ensure that the quality of food provided to our patients is of a high standard, and that patients enjoy the food they receive while in our care."

The mother told Fairfax Media she was pleased the hospital had committed to improving food quality, and urged it to consider ways to make mealtime a more positive experience for young patients.

"It would be great if they can look at making the food in the kids wards happy and age appropriate - so they look forward to the trolley coming around with their meals and it’s not just another thing that’s tough to deal with in hospital," she said.

"It's a tough life and happy food would make a big difference. For example, replace sticky date pudding with cupcakes, a piece of unflavoured chicken with some chicken nuggets."