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East Anglia: Hospital food under fire as report reveals eggs from caged hens served to patients

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A NEW report published today has highlighted the “disgraceful” animal welfare standards of food being served to hospital patients.

The RSPCA said nine out of 10 eggs served by hospitals in the east of England are laid by hens kept in cages, while just 13% of chicken and 38% of pork used comes from animals reared in conditions that meet its welfare standards.

The survey shows the animal welfare standard of hospital food is a “postcode lottery”.

Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust and Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust failed to provide any eggs, chicken or pork that comes from animals reared in conditions that meet RSPCA welfare standards, the survey claimed.

Figures for Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust were unavailable, while 100% of pork used by the Bury St Edmunds-based West Suffolk Hospital Foundation Trust meets the Freedom Food standard, where all aspects of the production process meet strict RSPCA guidelines.

However, its eggs all come from caged hens and none of the chicken it uses comes from birds reared in conditions that meet the charity’s standards.

The RSPCA and Campaign for Better Hospital Food, who published the survey, now want the Government to introduce mandatory minimum standards for hospital food.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “It is strange that just when you are at your weakest, you are served food that may not be to your taste and can be from animals kept under intensive conditions.

“Even hospitals serving food made from free- range eggs in their coffee shops and cafeterias are still delivering food made with cage eggs to patients. We support the idea of having standards for hospital food.”

Alex Jackson, co-ordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, said: “It’s disgraceful for the taxpayer to pay for hospital food which causes misery to animals.

“The Government must introduce mandatory higher animal welfare standards for all hospital food in England to improve its quality and taste, and guarantee that it is produced from animals living happy lives”.

The survey results show that the animal welfare standard of hospital food is lower than those demanded by shoppers in British supermarkets. Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, M&S and the Co-operative have banned cage eggs altogether.

The Orwell Bridge is expected to close for the third time this winter as high winds are forecast again on Wednesday night.

A mentally-ill Bury St Edmunds man accused of killing a 57-year-old man by stabbing him multiple times has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Essex Wildlife Trust has responded to reports that a black panther has been sighted in a rural village in the county.

Suffolk Day will take place on Thursday, June 21, this year - we asked people in Ipswich their favourite thing about Suffolk.

Feeling safe on the streets, career prospects and retirement plans are among the top concerns for women in Suffolk and Essex, a survey reveals.

Proposals to build a new multi-million pound rail depot on the Suffolk/Essex border at Brantham near Manningtree are being reconsidered by Greater Anglia.

A crash between a van and a car this morning has closed a rural Suffolk road.

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