Minister for Food and Civil Supplies G.R. Anil who visited Government Lower Primary School, Cotton Hill, here on Tuesday as part of a Statewide inspection to ensure the quality of mid-day meals in public schools sat down for lunch with the students.
The Minister who had rice, ‘aviyal,’ curd, and pickle, however, stumbled upon a strand of hair in his lunch and set the plate aside. He was served a fresh plate of food and finished it in the company of students of one of the most prominent schools in the city.
Mr. Anil who reached the school with ward councillor Rakhi Ravikumar inspected the school kitchen, utensils, storeroom, and the quality of rice. He saw up close the lack of staff to handle cooking for the nearly 1,100-odd students at the school and the space constraints.
Headmistress Rafeeqa Beevi told the Minister that with the construction of a new building near the school, a spacious kitchen and dining hall would be arranged for students.
The Minister underscored that the Food and Civil Supplies department was distributing the best available rice to schools. Joint inspections by various departments were under way to ensure the quality of mid-day meals following incidents of food poisoning in a couple of institutions. The inspections would continue, he said.
If schools kitchens or storerooms were in a sorry state, teachers, parent-teacher associations, and local body representatives should intervene to ensure students had good and safe food. No compromise would be made on the quality of mid-day meals and hygiene. Action would be taken against those responsible for mid-day meals that did not meet quality standards, the Minister said.
Brushing aside the finding of a hair strand in his meal as a one-off incident, the Minister said the food in the school was being prepared in a clean area. However, the incident would prompt everyone to be more cautious. Masks, gloves, caps, and so on should be used in all schools in food preparation to ensure hygiene.