Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food at the Ottawa General Hospital

Today's installment in my ongoing Ottawa Hospital Food Series is the Ottawa General Hospital.

The fare was more of the same - no-name junk food, although at least on the surface there were a few healthier sounding options: Wraps, whole-grain sandwiches and Carribean crusted snapper.

Of course as evidenced at the Ottawa Civic, simply sounding healthy doesn't mean the nutritional breakdown's good - I mean who ever would have thought hospital soups (soups that are by the way sold at the General as well) would contain up to 3grams of trans fats and a day's worth of sodium? Therefore without a nutritional breakdown, it's hard to say how healthy the options really were.

Prices were interesting. You could have chosen the snapper for $6.99 or the cheesy bistro burger for $3.99.

And $1.25 for an apple?

Royal Gala Apples are $0.99/lb this week at Food Basics. That means my non-wholesale price on apples is roughly $0.33 per medium sized apple. So the General's cafeteria is selling them with an almost 400% markup?

That's a helluva profit margin!

Oh, and I finally got to see with my own two eyes the mind-boggling display of Health Check'ed Slush Puppies (made with sugar from juice which somehow magically is better for you than other sugars and which allows the Heart and Stroke Foundation to formally endorse them with their ridiculous Health Check).

And what was right next to the Slush Puppies?

A fridge dedicated to the energy drinks Rock Star and Full Throttle.

Interesting choices to sell in hospitals given that energy drinks have been implicated in hospital admissions for individuals with mental illness, supra-ventricular tachycardia (super-fast heart rhythms leading to emergency room visits), caffeine poisoning in adolescents and a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence in College students.

All this really makes me wonder if there's any dietetic oversight in these institutions or whether it's simply the almighty dollar that's king?