Country – Sweden
The Swedish Association of Dietitians represents administrative dietitians. We have about 1100 members in our association.
An administrative dietitian works mostly as health caterer in communities and in hospitals. In Sweden we also have a sector that is unique which is catering for schools. All children in Sweden are supplied with a free meal in school, that’s statuted by law.
One of the new aspects for our Association to deal with is the Education Act effective July 2011. In addition to the school lunch being free the new education act mandates that this lunch be nutritional. We, in our association, have been working very hard to reach that goal. Earlier the school could serve whatever they wanted for lunch and some schools did so. But now there are nutritional requirements for lunch.
We are now working together with the authorities to find out how we can bring out nutritional values in a simple and realistic way.
County councils in Sweden have created a network for better service at hospitals. Five administrative dieticians from different parts of Sweden where selected to start benchmarking with focus on meals for patients. They looked at the whole process, from the loading platform to the ready meal for the patient. One of the conclusions they reached is that it’s most efficient and least expensive to provide the hospital departments with kitchen staff. The team is still working on the project.
On behalf of the ministry of Health and Social affairs our association has also compiled good examples from hospital catering and these will be published this winter. The project was called “The best food at hospital” and the conclusion is that a good meal for the patient is all about communication and a dialogue between care staff and kitchen staff.
We are also working on how to deal with the law of public procurement. In Sweden the law of prevention of cruelty to animals is stricter than in the rest of the EU. For example animals mustn’t be transported for more than 8 hours before slaughter. But those who work with public catering can’t ask for Swedish meat because that is inhibitory for competiveness for the rest of the countries in Europe. We don’t think that’s fair, and when our guests ask for Swedish meat we can’t supply it to them. We are discussing these concerns with our Minister for Rural affairs and we are also implementing “conceptual modulating” together with scientists and the concerned authorities.
It would be interesting to find out if our colleagues around the world have similar projects and problems to solve.
Marianne Schroder Maagaard