The incident of 170 girl students of a Neyveli school falling sick on taking mid-day meal has come a day after the government sent a circular to District Collectors reiterating quality norms.
The circular, issued on the aftermath of the Bihar tragedy that claimed the life of 23 children, advised the Collectors to ensure that kitchens were kept neat and tidy. Due diligence should be taken to see to it that commodities to be used for cooking did not get contaminated, a senior official of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department which sent out the circular.
It was only last month that the Department conducted a meeting with all Personal Assistants (Noon Meal) to the Collectors in which the officials were told by the top brass that the quality norms should, at no cost, be compromised.
On the system in place for quality supervision of the commodities, the official said the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, which procured the commodities, would normally carry out quality checks before the provisions were supplied to schools or noon meal centres.
The Corporation had a dedicated team of staff for this purpose. At anganwadi centres or noon meal centres, the staff were entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring quality cooked food.
Samples of the food would, in every place, be kept for two hours for verification. Before the food was served to children, cooks had to taste it, the official said explaining the procedures followed.