To bring in more professionalism in the process within the resources available
Tamil Nadu Food Safety Commissioner Kumar Jayanth on Tuesday ordered the Designated Officers (DOs) of Food Safety Wing to train the staff at noon meal and Anganwadi centres across the State in safe and hygienic cooking practices.
In a video-conference, he instructed the DOs of all 32 districts to provide training on handling different types of food materials, safe cooking practices and maintaining hygienic conditions, an official who participated told The Hindu on Wednesday.
The noon meal scheme at schools was a State Government project. Anganwadi centres are run by Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a Central Government-sponsored social welfare scheme to tackle malnutrition and health problems in children and their mothers.
Apart from cooking, emphasis will also be placed on storage of different food materials. The objective was to bring in more professionalism in the process within the resources available to the staff, the official said.
The training will be conducted at the block-level, where the Block Development Officer will coordinate the effort with the DOs. Training for the first batch was likely to commence in a week’s time. The Food Safety Commissioner has written to all the district administrations seeking their cooperation.
Even though nearly three months have elapsed since the Food Safety Commissioner directed all DOs to test samples from noon meal and Anganwadi centres, no sample had been taken in Coimbatore so far, sources said.
Mr. Jayanth had issued a circular on July 19 in the wake of more than 20 children dying after taking the mid-day meal at a school in Bihar on July 16. It was found that food was contaminated as a result of the cooking oil having been placed in a container formerly used to store pesticides. While initially the process was held-up in Coimbatore due to the microbiologist post at the Government Food Analysis Laboratory here lying vacant, it was yet to take off even though the post was filled, a few weeks ago. The process of lifting samples and testing them was likely to be taken up after the training programme for the cooks conclude, an official said.
Coimbatore had one of the six Government food analysis laboratories in Tamil Nadu that are approved under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The others are in Chennai, Salem, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli and Madurai.