Date lodged: 26 March 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the use of meat containing nitrites in patients' meals in hospital.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 18 April 2019
There are strict maximum permitted levels of nitrites that can be used by the manufacturers of cured meat products. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed nitrites as food additives in April 2017 and concluded that it was not necessary to change previously set statutory safe levels. Food Standards Scotland advice remains that the use of nitrates and nitrites in food remains safe when used in accordance with regulatory limits prescribed in food additives legislation.
All hospital food must meet national Food, Fluid and Nutrition standards. This takes into account the latest scientific advice on the amount of red and processed meat that can be consumed for a healthy, balanced diet. Health Boards are responsible for ensuring that food provided meets these and all other relevant standards and under the NHS Scotland procurement framework all suppliers must adhere to all relevant requirements including those under the Food Safety Act (as amended) 1990 and Scottish/UK/EU food safety related regulations.