Five-star food hygiene rating for Northern Ireland's busiest kitchen

Northern Ireland's busiest kitchen has been awarded a top food hygiene rating.

Maghaberry Prison serves up on average 3,000 meals a day and is run by prison service staff and inmates.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's environmental services recently recognised its five-star status.

"Maghaberry Prison is working to reduce reoffending by challenging those in our care and supporting them to change," Ronnie Armour, head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said.

"This support is often given through opportunities to engage in education and learn new skills, including catering, hygiene and business skills.

"These new skills, and the resultant qualifications, support prisoners to find a new focus in life, and it also helps them to choose a better road when they're released through employment or indeed, further education."

Mr Armour said the men who came to Maghaberry Prison often had poor eating habits and, as a result, poor health.

"Providing nutritious food, as well as an understanding of how to cook and what to cook can go a long way in helping people to change their behaviours."

David Seffen, head of prison programmes at Belfast Metropolitan College, which supports the delivery of education and training at Maghaberry, said it was helping train staff and students.

"The acquisition of skills and education supports the ambition for reducing reoffending while providing valuable life and catering skills at an industry level, all of which allows students to have a focus while in prison and upon release to earn a living for themselves, their families and contribute to their communities."

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