A PRIVATE hospital has become the first in Wales to win a Soil Association fresh food award.

St Joseph Hospital in Harding Avenue, Newport, received the gong on Thursday in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, which has exposed horse contamination in meat products.

The award recognises commitment to provide nutritious, healthy food including meat from animals farmed to British animal standards.

Hospital chef Pascal Meril, 45, said: "It's a great achievement for everybody.

"We source as much as possible from local suppliers and endeavour to support local food producers reducing our carbon footprint and boosting the local economy.

"Our menus cater for different religious and cultural beliefs and for those who require specialised diets."

The French-born catering manager picked up the bronze catering mark at an ceremony in London.

The Soil Association, which promotes organic food, confirmed yesterday the private hospital was the first to receive the accreditation in Wales.