A report issued by North Municipal Corporations Education department has found more than 75 per cent of food samples of midday meals in its schools lacking in the prescribed nutritional value. Of the 36 samples tested between January and May,27 failed the test with for requisite amount of protein. Of the total,only three were found fit in terms of calorie intake.
The story in the South and East corporations is not very different,with nearly 50 per cent of the South corporations samples failing nutrition tests. In the east,statistics are similar to those of schools under the North civic body,Yogendra Mann,the corporations PRO said.
The civic bodies claimed that the methodology of testing was leading to faulty results. Shriram Institute for Industrial Research (the lab certified to conduct these tests) is testing wet samples instead of dry ones,so the results are not accurate, Satish Upadhyay,Chairman of the South corporations education committee,said.
Every midday meal should ideally provide 12 gm of protein and 450 calories energy a standard most samples are failing to meet. Each of the civic three bodies has tasked NGOs with the responsibility of providing healthy and nutritious food to primary school students in the Capital. According to the agreement,Shriram Institute for Industrial Research draws five samples every month from each NGO (four from schools and one from the NGO kitchen) to conduct tests.
Following the tragedy in Bihar,in which 23 students died after consuming a midday meal served at a primary school,all three corporations have been undertaking surprise visits to schools and have swung into action to avoid a similar incident from occurring in the Capital.
We are keeping a close watch on how the midday meals are being prepared,the ingredients used and if the NGOs are sticking to prescribed sanitary norms. We have also issued directives to school principals and ordered school officials to test the food before distributing it to the children, Ram Kishan Bansiwal,Chairman of the north corporations education committee,said.
It has been made mandatory for NGOs to seal the containers in which the food is being taken,besides making sure that at no point of time are the containers left unattended. If the seal is found to be broken,they have to directly report it to the corporation, Upadhyay said.
The North corporation has also been conducting health check-ups for its midday meal employees,besides installing CCTV cameras in the NGOs kitchen.