The hospital kitchen at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has become the first in Scotland to receive gluten free accreditation.
After previously buying in frozen meals for coeliac patients, staff can now prepare food for them overnight to avoid the risk of any cross-contamination.
As a result, it has been certified by charity Coeliac UK and NHS Grampian is now working to achieve the same distinction at Royal Cornhill Hospital – which provides meals to many other locations in the region.
Gluten is a protein found in cereals including wheat and rye and can cause severe reactions if it is consumed by someone sensitive to it.
Stuart Donald, ARI catering manager, said: “What this accreditation means is that we can prepare these meals in-house and patients can have a home-cooked meal rather than what was effectively a frozen ready meal.
“Our gluten free meals are prepared at night, completely separate from other meal production.
“We use fresh ingredients, from local suppliers wherever possible.”
Hilary Croft, the chief executive of Coeliac UK, said: “Being in hospital can make patients with coeliac disease feel vulnerable as they have to entrust their gluten free diet, which is the only treatment for their condition, to someone else.
“We applaud ARI’s kitchen practices and processes regarding storage, labelling and preparation to avoid cross-contamination and ensure the safe delivery of gluten free food by trained staff.”