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Understanding your food labelling responsibilities for patients with dysphagia

Understanding your food labelling responsibilities for patients with dysphagia

Appropriate, accurate and easy to use food labels are an essential part of commercial kitchen supplies across the broad spectrum of food and drink businesses. The importance of food labels is particularly key in environments where the health issues of especially vulnerable people present specific requirements for their food and drink, and serving incorrectly prepared meals could have extremely serious consequences. Among the responsibilities for workers in the aged care and health care environment is the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) which saw the introduction of new food labelling requirements in May 2019.

Dysphagia is a condition which involves difficulty swallowing due to an identifiable obstruction or issues with muscle control and coordination. Patients may suffer from dysphagia for a variety of reasons from mouth sores and a reduction in the production of saliva to illnesses such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy. It is therefore vital that the consistency and texture of food and drink served to patients with dysphagia is carefully and consistently controlled in order to ensure it is appropriate to their level of ability. When assessing the risks associated with serving food which dysphagia sufferers are not able to safely ingest, the statistics are extremely confronting. Patients with this condition are around twice as likely to die in hospital as other patients.

In this context, the importance of accurately identifying the range of food and drink thicknesses appropriate to varying patient needs becomes more than obvious. In this context, high quality food labels are therefore an indispensable part of your commercial kitchen supplies. The standardised food labelling regime introduced by IDDSI is designed to assist workers in healthcare settings to ensure patients are delivered meals of the correct consistency and minimise the risk of harm by providing a clear and consistent system of labelling for a variety of food thicknesses.

As the market leading Australian provider of food safety labels and products, Fildes Food Safety is a widely trusted name when it comes to sourcing commercial kitchen supplies which are compliant with all relevant rules and regulations, including the requirements of the IDDSI. Our range of labels for health and aged care providers includes easily identifiable, colour coded labels which closely follow the terminology and recommendations of the IDDSI. Our products designed for these specific food safety requirements cover the entire range of seven specific food and drink consistency classifications, from ‘regular/easy to chew’ foods, through the crossover of food and drink groupings designated as ‘pureed/extremely thick’ or ‘liquidised/moderately thick’ all the way to ‘thin’ drinks at the other extreme of the spectrum. Fildes Food Safety labels for this specific purpose employ the same colour coding and numbering system established by IDDSI to provide additional peace of mind on compliance and the highest standards of patient care.

Contact us to discuss our range of food safety labels and how we can help serve the particular food safety needs of your business.

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