The Royal Navy has refuted claims by an MP that personnel are banned from posting photographs of canteen food on social media.
Concerns about the quality of food being served at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire and similar naval establishments were raised by the East Worthing and Shoreham MP, Tim Loughton.
Speaking in the House of Commons on 18 April, Loughton claimed the ban on service personnel posting photographs of their meals on social media had been put in place because of the high level of complaints.
A spokesman from HMS Sultan has since categorically denied a ban is in place.
Speaking in Parliament, Loughton said: “Is the Secretary of State aware that the standard of food for the military at HMS Sultan and similar naval establishments has become such a source of complaints that service personnel have been banned from taking photographs and using social media to critique it? What is he doing to ensure that our servicemen and women are properly looked after in such a basic area as food?”
In response, defence minister, Mark Lancaster stated that personnel are offered core meals, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, with set calorific and nutritional standards.
“I confess that I experience the food that is served to our armed forces personnel on a regular basis, and I have not experienced a poor standard. The normal process is for complaints to be made via the chain of command, but I am more than happy to look into the matter,” said Lancaster.
HMS Sultan has said it has only received a small amount of complaints so far this year.
A base spokesman said: “The Command team at HMS Sultan regularly eat with the sailors unannounced to check on the standard and quality of food. It is consistently of a high standard with a good range of choices available.”
“The Duty Officer is required to take his meals with the sailors three times a week, again, to provide assurance of the food quality and personnel are reminded regularly of the comments book and to use it for any food complaints.”
“There have been a handful of minor complaints so far this year, all dealt with by the duty chef. Post course reports also take comments on the quality of the food and this feedback remains satisfactory to very satisfactory.”
“At no point have we banned sailors from posting photos of food on social media sites,” concluded the spokesman.
A handful of posts complaining about the meals at the Gosport training base can be found on social media.
One Twitter user wrote: “Looking forward to having my bowl of slop for dinner. Food at HMS Sultan is terrible”.
Another compared the meals to “prison food”.
However, not all reviews are negative. One Facebook user praised the base’s chicken madras, Cornish pasty and chocolate sauce covered chocolate cake.
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