Children's hospital hits back at Senator's claim it serves 'sugary meals'
A children's hospital has hit back following criticism from a Senator over the standard of its food for patients.
The Crumlin unit has insisted it is committed to providing healthy meals, after Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone last week blasted the hospital claiming it served sugary dishes to children as young as 15 months.
A spokesperson for Our Lady's Children's Hospital said it offers many healthy options on its dinner menu and in its canteen.
However, it stressed that it continuously works to improve food and menus in consultation with the Youth Advisory Council, parents and guardians and staff.
"There is a chip-free day every Wednesday for patients and staff, which includes no wedges, curly fries or cubed potatoes," the spokesperson told the Herald.
"Healthy options such as fruit, salads, yoghurts and sugar-free drinks are available in the canteen and coffee shops."
The spokesperson also said calorie posting has been implemented across the hospital to help patients and visitors to make healthier food choices.
One menu for patients at the hospital features breast of chicken, stuffing and gravy, baked potato, as well as a vegetarian omelette. It also offers chicken goujons, beef curry and American burgers in a bun.
Patients can also choose from carrot batons, potato wedges and chips, among other sides.
Ms Noone had expressed concern over sugary foods such as pasta sauce and jelly being served to sick children at the hospital.
"This practice of serving foods with a high sugar content, such as pasta sauce and sugary jelly, to children under two years of age is totally unacceptable," she said.
Ms Noone also said one mother "could not find anything healthy to eat in the hospital shop or vending machines on the site".
"Unfortunately, at the moment, the 15-month-old child of a friend of mine is being treated in Crumlin Children's Hospital," she said. "She's getting great care but regrettably is being served foods laden with sugar.
"It is ironic and very disappointing that sick children are being served sugary foods, in a State health facility where a large sugar awareness poster hangs in its corridors."