Recognising and believing that a hospital must not only meet the expectation of clinical efficacy and safety, but also food safety, Asiri Hospitals, Sri Lanka’s premier private healthcare group, recently obtained the coveted ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) certification for its food and beverage department.
Awarded by the ‘Societe Generale de Surveillance’, Zurich, Switzerland, the certification is valid for three years. This is the second time that the hospitals’ F&B departments were awarded so.
The most representative international standard in food safety, ISO 22000 FSMS which integrates Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), also underscores the hospital’s commitment to achieving worldwide best practices. In order to pass the strict and specialised accreditation audit, the hospital’s kitchens maintain a meticulous food safety management system. Everything from food procurement and supply chain to storage, preparation and delivery to patient is closely monitored from start to end.
The Hospital Group’s Head – Food and Beverage, Upul Wijekoon says that food safety management from procurement to patient bedside is a serious commitment for their 200 plus F&B staff. “From Executive Chef and supervisory staff to the kitchen helpers, all undergo rigorous training in personal hygiene according to World Health Organisation (WHO) principles. We are conscious that there should be zero mistakes and that food must be healthy as well as tasty and should delight the patient.”
Wijekoon went on to highlight that food safety is particularly important for hospitalised patients under treatment and convalescence as ‘healthy food can nourish your body for proper recovery’ while even the slightest food poisoning can hinder a patient’s recovery, he stated.
Asiri Group of Hospitals serves up to 1,500 meals a day, catering to over 20 different types of patient meals. Depending on the condition and treatment, patient meals range from the regular vegetarian and non-vegetarian to special diets, varying from diabetic, low potassium and low fat to high protein amongst a host of combinations.
“Of significant importance is the food prepared for Naso-Gastric tube (NGT) feeding,” said Wijekoon. “The feed is prepared in an especially-designed, fully air-conditioned enclosed room with staff having to mandatorily wear masks, gloves and proper attire of uniforms and aprons. This room cannot be accessed by other staff members who are not assigned or authorised,” he added.
Other details adopted by Asiri hospitals in sustaining their stringent quality are colour coded knives and chopping boards to avoid contamination; blue for fish, red for meat, white for dairy and green for fruits and vegetables. This ensures scrupulous and thorough contamination free preparation.
The hospital’s F&B department boasts of an array of qualified professionals, some of whom are qualified overseas. Similar to any hotel or facility in the hospitality business, the brigade of chefs from Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Chef de Partie, Demi Chef, commis and F&B Managers, F&B coordinators, Service staff, kitchen stewards and Trainees all painstakingly and caringly prepare and serve the food as per medical advice of the hospital’s dieticians.
Asiri Group of Hospitals also offers an in-room dining menu for the patients’ visitors/guardians, with cuisine from around the world.
“All in all, at Asiri Hospitals we diligently maintain the highest and most exacting standards, to maintain patient confidence in us at all times,” summed up Wijekoon.