Based on a brief survey, the impression exists that fully vegetable options in Dutch hospitals are generally available in a modest quantity, partly because the demand for them is not yet high. Hospitals are used to dealing with a variety of diets. Based on this, State Secretary Blokhuis of Health, Welfare and Sport expects that plant-based eating is possible in all hospitals. He writes this to the House of Representatives in response to questions from the Party for the Animals.
Under the National Prevention Agreement, the Food in Healthcare Alliance is working together with the Dutch Association of Hospitals and, among others, the Nutrition Center on healthier and more sustainable food supply in hospitals with the project “Good care you taste”. The goal is a healthy food supply in all hospitals by 2030. This goal applies to the offer for patients, as well as for employees and visitors. The Disc of Five is an important guideline in this respect, and with it also variation in vegetable and animal protein. Blokhuis expects that this will increase the range of vegetable choices. In addition, an increasing demand for plant-based meals will also be able to stimulate their supply.
Blokhuis points out that hospitals often have long-term contracts with caterers, and various contracts for catering for visitors, employees and patients. The parties in the Prevention Agreement have agreed on 2030 as a feasible term for a healthy food supply in all hospitals. That is the agreement that the parties involved are now working on together. He hopes that the good examples that exist, partly due to the efforts of the Food in Care Alliance, are spreading like oil over the country and that the intended result will be achieved sooner.
The State Secretary does note that there is a caveat for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or the sick to completely switch to vegetable proteins. It is extra important for the vulnerable to get enough high-quality protein, among other things with a view to combating malnutrition. The quality of vegetable protein is less than that of animal protein. Therefore, the current recommendation of the Health Council is to eat more protein if only protein from vegetable products is eaten. Whether it is also possible for vulnerable groups to responsibly replace animal protein with vegetable protein is still being investigated. In Maastricht, for example, the effect of consumption of vegetable protein on muscles, recovery and performance is being investigated, and in Wageningen the nutritional quality of vegetable proteins.
source: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, 03/04/20
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