155 schools in Ernakulam directed to ensure quality of mid-day meals

Nearly 155 schools under the General Education department in Ernakulam have been told to improve delivery of mid-day meal to students as per the safety standards prescribed by the authorities.

An audit of the food delivery process was carried out as part of State-wide assessment by the department following incidents of food poisoning in some schools after children consumed mid-day meals at the start of the new academic year. The district-wise assessment was held in nearly 930 government, aided and special schools. Department officials held two rounds of assessments to check the lapses in the procurement and storage of materials used for providing mid-day meals to students.

Inspections revealed that the utensils used for cooking and serving the meals were not cleaned properly in the schools found to be lacking in ensuring safety standards. There were shortcomings in the proper storage of rice and other essential items. Kitchens in a few schools lacked adequate facilities.

Officials also found that solid waste management at some schools was not in tune with the norms prescribed. They also inspected toilet facilities and water tanks on campuses.

The assessment found that a majority of the schools were complying with safety and health standards. It was found that these institutions were using good quality rice and other items. Some managements were found carrying out regular testing to ensure the quality of drinking water provided to students. The erring schools have been told to resolve the lapses. An inspection will be carried out later to check whether they had corrected the shortcomings.

Schools have been told to test the water used for preparing mid-day meals at least once in six months. Training on food safety standards should be provided to workers involved in cooking meals. The school authorities need to remove old and damaged utensils. The plates used for serving the meals need to be washed using hot water. Only boiled water should be given to students and not mix cold water with boiled water. The food committee has to prepare regular reports after carrying out food audit.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 12:26:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/155-schools-in-ernakulam-directed-to-ensure-quality-of-mid-day-meals/article65575681.ece