Veterans Affairs orders review of food at Halifax veterans hospital
Published Tuesday, August 14, 2012 6:49PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:45PM ADT
Veterans Affairs is looking into concerns raised by veterans about the food served at the Camp HillVeterans' Memorial Building in Halifax.
Jack Walsh has called Camp Hill home for two years, but he has a different description for the food served at the facility.
“Bland and overcooked and tasteless,” says the 84-year-old Second World War veteran. “I think if somebody came in and did an audit on the food, they would be able to give some advice to the people here and maybe improve things.”
Walsh voiced his concerns, which caught the attention of NDP Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer who toured the hospital today.
“Anytime the veterans have a serious concern over a specific issue, my job as Opposition critic is to go and investigate what the concerns are,” says Stoffer.
Stoffer says he has been talking to directors, as well as those who prepare and serve the food. He also says staff from Veterans Affairs have already visited Camp Hill.
“So what I’m going to be doing is comparing notes with them and speak to them about what improvements can be made, what should be made, and how we do it,” says Stoffer.
Camp Hill staff say everything is made on site and from scratch. They also say the menu is reviewed regularly and they accept feedback after each meal.
“They discuss the meals, they’ve checked the meals out, see what’s being served and the quality and report back to us all the time,” says food production supervisor Jennifer Higgins.
The 175 veterans are served three hot meals each day and salt and pepper is available on tables to add extra flavour. Staff say they offer two options at each meal, but admit some things are cooked in advance and blast chilled to maintain both food safety and quality.
Other meals are cooked during the heating process, or partially cooked in the kitchen and finished on the veterans’ floor.
Stoffer says he plans to come back to Camp Hill so he can try some of the food that was made today, but will be served later.
“I noticed some soup that was being made today to be served Thursday and I’m going to come back on Thursday and try it out myself,” he says.
Walsh says he is pleased the veterans’ voices are being heard.
“We’re in our last years and we know we’re not going to get out of here unless we die, we’d like to have the last years with better food.”
A dozen new food items are being tested and could soon be added to the menu.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster