Hospital food should be subject to legally-binding quality levels, the Campaign for Better Hospital Food has said.
The call comes as the government carries out a review of hospital food, although there are reportedly no plans for mandatory standards to be introduced, according to http://www.catererandhotelkeeper.co.uk/Articles/2008/04/04/320033/make-hospital-food-better.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">BBC News](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/).
This is despite the current private members bill in the House of Lords calling for compulsory regulation on the standards of food, which is backed by 98 organisations.
If the bill were to pass, it would ask experts to draft a list of food standards to which all hospitals would need to adhere, and then require the Care Quality Commission to make sure the standards were being reached.
There are currently no mandatory regulations in place for English hospitals, unlike in Wales and Scotland, and other public places such as government departments and prisons.
Chair of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food (CBHF), Katherine Jenner, wrote on the British Medical Journal's website that the existing system isn't working. She said that all voluntary initiatives to improve standards had failed since 1992, and had cost the government £54m. She alleged that this sum could have instead paid for 34 new kitchens.
She highlighted a CBHF study, which shows that three quarters of hospital meals would receive a "red light" score on the Food Standards Agency traffic light system due to high levels of saturated fat and salt.
Writing in the BMJ, Jenner said: "Most British public sector institutions already have to adhere to mandatory standards for the meals they serve, including mandatory nutritional standards for school food and the food served in hospitals in Wales and Scotland.
"Why are there no mandatory standards in English hospitals?" she asked.
Some hospitals impose their own policies but there is no unifying standard across the country.
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