Some midday meal samples fail the test in Karnataka
Samples were testedin accredited labs on the basis of microbiological and chemical parameters
Nearly 26 per cent of the midday meal samples in the State, tested in the 2015-2016 academic year, did not pass the test.
Of the 23 samples, six were found to be below par. In fact, three food samples in Kolar district were found to have E-coli in both the sambar and cooked rice, and unfit for human consumption.
These samples were tested in accredited laboratories on the basis of microbiological and chemical parameters. The findings were revealed in the minutes of a meeting of the Programme Approval Board for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in February in the presence of top officials from the Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
A source in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) said, “We have found that places where the midday meal did not pass the test had water sources that were contaminated.” The minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is with The Hindu states that the State government has reportedly sent directions to schools to install purified drinking water through the zilla parishads. In addition, cooks have been given a detailed set of guidelines regarding personal hygiene. State president of the Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sanga, S. Varalakshmi, said there is a need for the government to ensure that all schools had access to clean drinking water. She also pointed out that there is a need to check the quality of foodgrains being used.
Another area of concern was the quality of food being served from centralised kitchens run by various non-governmental organisations. It was observed that meals prepared by centralised kitchens had fewer vegetables. The government of India has advised the State government to pay attention to the time taken to transport food as well as the temperature that needs to be maintained while transporting food from centralised kitchens to schools.