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Army October 10, 2013
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AS AN operator from 2 Cdo Regt
who has just returned from a two-
week exercise, I'm extremely disap-
pointed with the catering provided.
For the first week we were offered
hot boxes for breakfast, lunch and din-
ner. The hot box meals were as small
as aeroplane meals and typically
included a small quantity of curry/stir-
fry with a portion of rice, a side of
mashed potatoes and a smaller serve of
cooked frozen vegetables.
A number of dissatisfied operators
complained about the unhealthiness
and smallness of the meals. As a result,
the situation improved during the sec-
ond week in that we were no longer
fed hotbox meals three times a day.
However, the contents of the hot boxes
we were fed remained the same.
A large portion of each meal pro-
vided while we were away consisted
of nutrient-empty white carbohydrates
such as potato, rice and bread.
Snacks provided between main
meals were limited to unhealthy, pro-
cessed foods such as two-minute noo-
dles, bread, chocolate and, at times,
flavoured milk. The only nutritious
food we were offered was apples and
oranges, but they were of such low
quality that they were left untouched.
As we were working and on call,
we were dependent on the Catering
Corps to provide meals.
Given that our job requires us to
be healthy, the Army should provide
Blaming the lack of healthy options
on budget doesn't make sense because
at the end of the two-week exercise
there was unhealthy food left over.
I think the Catering Corps needs to
review how, and to what foods, it allo-
cates funds and the corps culture.
Even prisoners are better fed than
soldiers who are required to perform at
their physical peak.
2 Cdo Regt
More thought for food
As today's professional soldiers focus on diet and fitness, are the catering policies keeping up?
Army Logistic Training Centre Chief of Staff
Lt-Col Wayne Carman responds:
IT'S extremely disappointing to hear
of your dissatisfaction with the meals
provided. There are a number of
issues raised which are best addressed
Service rationing is provided in
accordance with the ADF Ration
Scale (ADFRS), which is designed to
provide a nutritionally adequate diet in
a form that is most acceptable to ADF
The scale is sufficient to provide
entitled people with an average daily
food intake equivalent to an energy
value of approximately 17,000kJ.
The main focus of the ADFRS is to
provide a nutritionally balanced diet
first and the cost is a secondary
Within the ADFRS there are set lim-
its on food types (carbohydrates, protein
and so on) to ensure balance, however,
there are options within each food type
to suit diner preference (white or who-
legrain bread and white or brown rice).
It is important that commodity selec-
tion occurs to best suit the type of meals
required that best meet the environmen-
tal conditions, activity level of the diner,
and the diner preference.
Diners are encouraged to provide
feedback on commodity preferences.
DSTO is responsible for designing
Defence's nutritional framework in
regards to the key nutrition values
required of foodstuffs consumed by
Defence members. This scientific
research includes the provision of sup-
plements to the foundation diet of
The Catering Corps orders food-
stuffs within the governance restrictions
of Supman 4, which comply with the
values dictated by DSTO.
Hot box meals provided
Operational requirements dictate the
type of meal service provided and
takeaway options such as hot box meals
are often best suited.
The dimensions of the TV dinner
trays limit the size of the main meal
component provided and it is important
this is allowed for with the provision
of other commodities such as fruit,
bread and desserts (where applicable) to
ensure kilojoule requirements are met.
The physical dimensions of the
TV dinner trays also restrict the type
of meals provided and are best suited
to 'wet' dishes such as stir-fry and
In recognition of additional kilojoule
requirement associated with special
operations, the training supplement and
carbohydrate supplement were designed
by DSTO to provide an additional small
meal and snacks, providing an addition-
al energy value of 1168-1359kJ.
Although there are defined limits on
what can be drawn for this supplement,
there is a range of commodities avail-
able and it is important that diner pref-
erence is provided and considered in the
It is disappointing that you found the
commodities provided in this instance
to be unsuitable when designed by
qualified dieticians and food scientists.
The Australian Defence Fresh Food
Specifications (ADFFS) set the govern-
ance for the standards of foodstuffs
procured by Defence.
DSRG is responsible for procur-
ing commercial quality off-the-shelf
fresh foodstuffs. All issues of food
quality, such as identified with the
fruit provided, can be immediately
addressed through the supply chain and
it is important that catering staff are
informed of any concerns as soon as
The importance of diner feedback to
unit catering staff cannot be under-
stated. The first action for any diner
concerns should be directly to the
catering staff on duty.
With respect to the nature of group
feeding, not everyone's individual pref-
erences will be satisfied, however, with
constructive feedback through the local
catering asset, most preferences and
concerns can be addressed.
Hot topic: Do standard hot box meals offer enough quality food to meet the nutritional needs of soldiers focused
on physical fitness?
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