After the Bihar food poisoning incident,what steps has BMC taken to ensure quality of midday meals?
We have issued a circular to all municipal schools that the principal or someone from the management committee must smell and taste food before it is served to students. This is an existing rule,now we have enforced it more strictly.
There was a proposal last year to withdraw the midday meal contract from self-help groups (SHGs) and hand it over to ISKCON/ Akshaya Patra. What is its status?
We need state government approval for the handover as a central kitchen will have to be constructed to prepare meals. We are yet to hear from the government.
How do you ensure meals provided to children meet state government standards? Is registering with Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandatory?
It is not mandatory for self-help groups to register with FDA. Testing a sample every day is the only way to ensure quality. Principals have to smell and eat the khichdi every day. Violations by SHGs attract a penalty of Rs 2,000 per day.
How else does BMC ensure quality of food supplied by contractors? Is calorie and nutrient content checked regularly?
BMC officials visit kitchens of contractors once in six months. The civic administration also has five quality check inspectors who make rounds of the 1,536 schools in the city. Typically,a school is checked at least once a month.
Also,samples of khichdi are sent to the civic food laboratory at least once a month.
Contractors not maintaining calorie and nutrient content are fined.
Any rules for kitchens?
Kitchens should be clean with RCC structure and exhaust fans. Basic hygiene should be maintained. Meals have to be served hot.