Pies are expected to be cut from public menus at the Auckland District Health Board as officials try to make their hospitals into models of healthy eating and drinking.
The Muffin Break cafes at Auckland Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre have been told pies may no longer be welcome.
Garry Croft, general manager of Muffin Break parent Foodco, said he was given the DHB's 2014 food environment policy this week and pies fell into the traffic-light red category that was off the menu.
"We're analysing it and looking at what needs to be done and meeting with the DHB's nutritionist as to how we can work together and get Muffin Break in compliance."
This could also involve providing healthier options such as the chain's salads.
Kwikimart Owner Alpesh Patel. Photo / Janna Dixon
Last year Muffin Break shrank its Auckland DHB muffins, on average, by a quarter and slices and some cakes by half, in a first bite at satisfying officials' appetite for health improvements.
A DHB public health physician Dr Andrew Old said health boards had a responsibility to be a good role model in health matters.
"We are conscious that we advocate for a healthy food environment out there in the world."
But he said the 2014 policy remained a draft that was being "tested" on food outlets and the fate of pies is "a decision that hasn't been made". Compliance wasn't expected overnight.
A decision that has been made is that the convenience store in the hospital's foyer is closing down within weeks.
Owner Alpesh Patel said his Kwikimart couldn't realistically comply with healthy-food rules that would ban him from selling confectionery and snacks exceeding 800 kilojoules of energy per packet, and full sugar soft drinks.
Kwikimart has sold sugary and salty snacks, fizzy drinks, icecreams, baked beans, nappies and other corner-dairy items for a decade and Mr Patel said it was strongly supported in a petition when there was a suggestion it would have to make way for a parking building ticket office. But Dr Old said the store had made no effort to improve its fare and research among patients, visitors and staff found they wanted more healthy, quick options.
"The corner-dairy-type offering wasn't high on that list."
Auckland University professor of population nutrition, Boyd Swinburn, applauded the efforts to create a healthier food environment, saying hospitals ought to be leaders in this, just as they were in banning smoking from their grounds when not legally required to.
"The hospital is bulging with people with diseases caused by an unhealthy diet, so I think it is absolutely within their jurisdiction to try and do something on the prevention side."
The push for hospitals to go healthy began with the Waitemata and Capital & Coast DHBs' restrictions on sugar drink sales a decade ago, but has progressed slowly. The Auckland, Counties Manukau, Northland, Nelson Marlborough and Whanganui DHBs have adopted versions of the policy. In August, Nelson City Council became the first local authority to stop supplying sugar soft drinks to its members, staff, visitors and volunteers.