Paediatric wards in hospitals are rife with cheap processed food – despite high profile campaigns against their use in schools, it was claimed yesterday.

Turkey Twizzlers, made notorious by campaigning chef Jamie Oliver, are high on the menu of children’s wards, according to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper found three hospitals serving Twizzlers while twelve others serve similar products such as Turkey Dinosaurs.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust told the paper it offered children Turkey Dinosaurs, beefburgers and chicken nuggets as well as cheese pasty and vegetarian sausages.

The newspaper found hospital kitchens spent between 90p and £3.50 on each children’s meal.

It said hospitals claimed it was better to ensure children ate something rather than have them refuse nutritious but unappetising food.

Nutritionist Annie Seeley told the paper: “A Turkey Dinosaur meal with potato faces is high in fat and low in calcium and zinc. It would also have too much salt for young children.

“Why can’t the same creativity that’s used to come up with shaped meat and fish meals like Turkey Dinosaurs and Golden Whales be used to promote unprocessed healthier meals?”

Date: April 18th 2005