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NDP calls on Province to use more local produce in hospitals

The BC NDP is calling on the BC Liberals to make sure local food is served in BC hospitals.

Saanich South MLA Lana Popham in posed the question today in Victoria, referring to a busy time of year for BC farmers, “the Okanogan, represented by both the Premier and Minister of Agriculture is boasting an incredible season of fruit.”

“Given this bounty, can the minister of agriculture tell me why patients at the Vanderhoof hospital are being served fruit from China?” Popham continued

Health Minister Terry Lake says it’s simply a case of meeting demand and the wide variety of tastes hospital patients have.
vanderhoof
“Whereas BC does have over 200 agricultural products Honourable Speaker, not all food that people like to enjoy are practicably grown here in BC.”

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He went on to say that the provincial government and health authorities do what they can to buy local.

“Health authorities across the province do provide a variety of local products whenever possible” Lake continued giving a number of examples of contracted suppliers supporting local farmers.

In a statement, Northern Health says food provided by contractors “is supplemented with local produce and products where needed and whenever possible.”

“We have to maintain a balance between providing fresh local products and ensuring a full healthy menu. Some of the menu items are prepared on site from approved recipes and ‎some are heated from prepackaged frozen food.”

Northern health says the vendor that provides food for St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof is Sysco Canada.

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