Complaints of rotten meat have caused a P3 deal in Winnipeg to go sour. After more than a year of contracting out food services in local hospitals and personal care homes, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has ended its contract with Roastwell International Gourmet Foods, saying it didnt meet expectations.
Instead of spending $1 million to expand a sandwich factory within the regional food distribution facility, the health authority awarded a contract to Roastwell to operate the food line. Over the past 14 months, the regional distribution facility returned more than 2,000 sandwiches to Roastwell, citing rotten meat, moldy bread and fetid cheese.
CUPE members and activists said the scheme was wrong from the start. CUPE 1629 president Marlene Tartsch says: It just makes more sense for the public sector to do it.
Flooded with complaints, the authority concluded that Roastwell failed to meet standards. The company has threatened legal action. Meanwhile, the health authority is planning to buy new equipment and start making sandwiches with public hands.