The food being served to Delhi’s children under the mid-day meal scheme is far from being healthy with 83 per cent of the samples lifted for testing failing in the current fiscal.
In a response to Right to Information applications filed for ascertaining the results on the quality of food being served to Delhi students it has been revealed by the Deputy Director Education (Mid-Day Meal) that in the year 2012-13, only 50 of the 288 samples lifted from schools had passed. This meant that 83 per cent of the samples had failed to meet the protein and calorific values prescribed by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The samples were tested in the laboratories on microbiological parameters as also chemical parameters. The microbiological parameters took into account the presence of E.coli and Salmonella. The chemical parameters check the food on parameters of moisture, fat, protein, carbohydrate and calorific value.
The official said that as per nutritional values, the food is supplied to students by various non-government organisations and service providers of mid-day meals. The quantity per day of protein required for a student was 12 grams in the case of primary students and 20 grams in the case of upper primary students. Similarly, while the calorific value required for primary students was 450 calories, for the upper primary students it was 700 calories.
To monitor the quality of meals being served to students, two samples are collected from school and two from the kitchen of the NGO or service provider, the official added.
In 2010-11, the reply said, a total of 466 samples were gathered, of which 322 were taken from the schools and 144 from the kitchens. Out of these only five – amounting to just one per cent – had passed.
Similarly in 2011-12 only 5 per cent of the samples had passed. Out of the 541 samples, of which 367 were lifted from schools and 174 from kitchens, only 27 had met the specifications.
In 2012-13, there was a marginal improvement. Of the 288 samples, only 50 passed. Of the 198 school samples, as many as 160 failed while of the 90 kitchen samples as many as 78 failed in the laboratory tests.