Serious allegations regarding the serving of non-halal food at the Paarl hospital has been brought to VOC’s attention. Patrons, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have claimed that while being treated at the hospital, they have been served food that is not deemed halal. Fatimah Abrahams*, whose daughter is a patient at the Paarl hospital, said she used to cook food for the hospital.
“The chefs here at the hospital said that the food is not halal and Muslim staff said that an imam has stated that the food is halal,” said Abrahams.
However, Abrahams remains adamant that the food is not halal and said people from all over the area have called her as a previous supplier to air their grievances around the issue. While no other staff members were willing to speak to VOC News, a spokesperson for the Paarl hospital, Jo-anne Otto cleared the air.
Otto said that they would like to assure all Muslim patrons that all state hospital kitchens in the Western Cape are Muslim friendly.
“This basically means that all our produce especially meat are bought from halal suppliers,” Otto stated.
Food is also served in accordance with dietary requirements for the thousands of chronically ill patients, three times a day. Furthermore, Otto said all meat supplies are sourced from reliable halal suppliers and goes on to explain that there is a very strict tender process which includes making sure that all meat supplied is in fact halal.
“Our food services department are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations with regard to the purchasing, storage, preparation as well as disposal of foods,” said Otto.
While the hospital’s kitchen has not been halal-certified by a certification body, she guaranteed that no none halal meat or products were prepared there.
Otto has however added that if and when patients or their families feel that they wish to bring their own food they are more than welcome to do so, but advises that the food be made according to dietary requirements and therefore needs to be discussed with a healthcare professional.
“There are also many hospitals and clinics in the broader Western Cape as well as Paarl hospital that get soup donated from a number of soup kitchens over weekends especially during the cold winter months.”
These organizations do so at their own free will and offer waiting patients a cup of soup, in which case Otto added patrons are allowed to decline.VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)