How's the food? Health minister offers taste test of long-term care facility menu
Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016 7:47AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 13, 2017 8:29PM EST
Health Minister Gaetan Barrette invited MNAs and journalists to join him for lunch exactly like what is served at a long-term care facility.
Following complaints earlier this year about residents being served powdered potatoes, Barrette said he wanted to demonstrate exactly what was served to elderly people at long-term health care centres.
"The objective that I had today was to go over and above what is in the news all the time," said Barrette, as lunch was served -- from a CHSLD menu -- at a convention centre across the street from the National Assembly.
There were multiple reports earlier this year about cheap, low-quality, and unappetizing food served at CHSLDs.
"It's not just the quality of the food. It's the time that the people have to have to let them eat at their rhythm. Everything is mashed or in liquid form because they eat faster that way," said Ann Gingras of the CSN.
Barrette said the food could be improved, but that it was never as terrible as people said.
He added that changes are being made in public seniors’ homes in Quebec City and the Chaudiere Appalaches region, and he hopes they will spread to other areas.
"72 different recipes is a different choice every day, every meal for five weeks. How many people do you know that eat that differently at each meal for five weeks in a row?" said Barrette.
Members of opposition parties declined the invitation, calling it a publicity stunt.
“I have better things to do and certainly I will not participate in an attempt by the Liberals to cover over the very bad policies they had towards our elderly population,” said PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisée.
CAQ leader Francois Legault was in agreement.
"He's just having a show, a big show today, but it doesn't give any guarantee that this kind of meal will be the one that we will have in each of the CHSLDs," said Legault.
Barrette said the event was an attempt to be open and honest.
“We’re showing you and giving you the opportunity to see, to taste and to evaluate. That’s transparency. That’s not public relations, that’s transparency, and I think people in our society are asking for that,” said Barrette.
In 2015, the average cost of a long-term care facility meal was estimated to be about $2.