Military man on reforming the food system in the army: the main thing is to remove the monopoly and not to fill the soldier's diet with low-quality products

Military man on reforming the food system in the army: the main thing is to remove the monopoly and not to fill the soldier's diet with low-quality products

Kyiv  •  UNN

November 28 2023, 06:32 PM  •  51810 views

Hai has been in the military for many years and has seen what food was like before the introduction of the Catalog system, which is now highly criticized for corruption. He says that at the time of its introduction it was a breakthrough.

Soldiers, and this is no secret, need to eat as well and as varied as possible in the conditions in which they serve. There must be a balance of nutrients, not just filling the required number of calories with low-quality food, which sometimes happens. To achieve this, there should be competition in the supply of food to the military. This opinion was expressed in a commentary to UNN by Myroslav Hai, an officer and deputy chairman of the Armed Forces Reserves Council.

According to the military, the Catalog system led to the fact that food in the Ukrainian army, which until 2014 was not particularly diverse, gradually began to approach world standards.

At least, as Guy points out, in the military units where he had to visit and serve, the changes in nutrition were noticeable.

Details

Hai has been in the military for many years and has seen what food was like before the introduction of the Catalog system, which is now highly criticized for corruption. He says that it was a breakthrough at the time of its introduction.

"Compared to what we had in 2014, the transition to the catalog was a breakthrough reform. But this reform required several years of changing the regulatory framework. If the Ministry of Defense now wants to reform the organization of military catering, it will take 2-3 years to change the regulatory framework. And this is in a time of war. These things take time. If the regulatory framework is unprepared or not worked out, a collapse may occur. This can create serious problems in the organization of food for the military and give rise to corruption," says Hai.

The military adds that there should be competition.

The main thing is to remove the monopoly on food. There should be not just one supplier, but a lot of them, so that brigade commanders can choose where and what they buy - this is the first thing. Secondly, the food should not just be calorie-consistent. It is not enough to feed a soldier with bread and stew - the food must be caloric, balanced, with respect to vitamins and all the nutrients, amino acids, etc. And most importantly, it should be varied. After all, eating the same thing - whether it's food in a canteen or a dry ration in the 21st century - is not worthy of modern Ukraine

- Gai said.

He says that he has tasted various dry rations and that there are decent offers from domestic producers among this type of food. Hai also faced the fact that during his stay at the permanent place of deployment, the military are fed quite monotonously, which is somewhat depressing, not to mention the issue of providing the military with all the necessary nutrients. But a varied diet has a positive effect on the health and moral and psychological state of the military.

Remove and prevent monopoly on food supplies, look towards the diversity of this food, and take not only calories as the norm, but also the presence of all the necessary components such as vitamins, amino acids, etc. in accordance with modern nutritional science. The food in my team is very good, I always have a choice, for example, two types of first course, two types of second course. You can choose according to your preferences. Of course, where it's possible to do so

- says Hai.

He suggests that professional chefs should be allowed to prepare meals for the military (at least where possible), and that brigade commanders should be allowed to choose the supplier from whom to buy, for example, according to the region.

"І then you can immediately see that this brigade eats well, and this one eats worse. As soon as there is competition in the supply, as soon as brigade commanders are able to choose products knowing their personnel, knowing their preferences, knowing the nutrition in accordance with the norms, the quality improves accordingly," he said, emphasizing the importance of creating competition between suppliers.

After all, it is competition that will ensure both the adequacy of the menu price and its quality.

"In the old system, sometimes the price was lowered on purpose so that only one supplier could come, and the calculations were made only in terms of calories. And what is caloric content - you can even grind meat with bones, give it to us and say that the caloric content is appropriate. It's just that low-quality products are used to pad this caloric value. You can take low-quality meat, and you should know that we have some stocks in the country from the Soviet Union, that frozen meat, and say that the caloric content is preserved," says Hai, adding that a soldier who is well, tasty and varied is not going to want to go to a shawarma stall.

However, the military understands that reforms take time and the new leadership of the Defense Ministry should carefully study the system from the inside, to understand the decisions made before.

"It may take not a month, not two, not a year. Secondly, I know that these issues are being raised, and there have already been successful solutions, they just need to be multiplied. So far, I see that there is such a desire, but whether it will be realized depends on many circumstances. In particular, we are at war, some suppliers have ceased their operations, we depend on subsidies from our foreign partners, which means financial opportunities in certain areas. We see that due to the military aggression, the number of farms that supply food is shrinking. Therefore, this issue needs to be addressed comprehensively. This is a big challenge for the Ministry of Defense," says Hai.

READ ALSO: There are a lot of challenges: expert on the main frauds in the supply of and the need for reform

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