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Policies and Procedures

Food Safety - Food brought into RCH from external sources for consumption by patients

  • 1.    Overview/procedure description

    The RCH has a legal obligation to meet strict regulatory requirements pertaining to food safety and food handling practices. To align with this, the RCH strongly recommends children admitted to hospital do not consume meals not prepared by the RCH Kitchen. The RCH cannot accept responsibility for the safety of food prepared from external sources.

    Meals left at room temperature can allow harmful bacteria to grow in food putting your child at risk of becoming very unwell. Transporting and inadequately reheating food or reheating food multiple times can also promote conditions for bacterial growth.

    If meals are bought into RCH from external suppliers, the following procedure must be adhered to.

    2.    Related Policy

    Legislative Compliance

    Related Procedure

    Food Safety - Food brought into the RCH from external sources for consumption by Parents/ Carers 

    3.    Definition of Terms

    Externally prepared meals: meals not prepared by RCH Kitchen.

    External sources: retail vendors including those within the RCH premise

    Food from home: foods which are prepared in a private domestic kitchen

    Patients; the admitted child or adolescent.

    4.    Procedure details   

    FOR PATIENT’S FOOD:

    a.    Externally prepared meals:

    • must be transported to the RCH with an icepack in an insulated food carry bag/esky.
    • must be eaten immediately and cannot be stored in the fridge for later use.
    • if your child does not finish the meal, it must be discarded.
    • the meal must be heated through evenly, consumed immediately and not reheated again.

    Staff will not be involved in the preparation, handling or provision of meals brought in from home or external sources.   

    b.    Perishable, single serve, sealed items that require refrigeration

    E.g. yoghurts, drinks, custards:

    • must be stored in the ward pantry ‘ patient fridge’ until they are consumed.
    • Clearly label food with child’s name, ward, room number and date. 
    • BLUE Food Labels are available in the ward pantry.

    Note: Partially consumed items must not be returned to the ward pantry patient fridge. .

    c.    Non- perishable items/ snack foods e.g. breakfast cereals, fresh whole and dried fruit, sweet and dry biscuits, plain cakes, muffins, scones, pretzels, chips, popcorn, confectionary, soft drinks and UHT milk:

    • must be individually sealed or packaged and can be stored at your child’s bedside.  

    d.    Freezer Foods

    • The only items that can be stored in the ward freezers are single serve, sealed non-dairy icy poles.
    • Clearly label food with child’s name, ward, room number and date. 
    • Blue Food Labels are available in the ward pantry.

    Note: Partially consumed icy poles cannot be returned to the ward pantry.     

    PARENT FRIDGE:

    • Food in parent fridges and freezers must not be offered to patients, as parent fridges and freezers are not temperature monitored.   

    5.    References

    Victorian Food Act 1984

    Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food Safety Standards (Chapter 3)

    Guidelines prepared by Nutrition & Food Services, Nov 2016.

    6.    Contacts

    Manager, Department of Nutrition and Food Services

    Food Safety Officer, Department of Nutrition and Food Services