Rules remain; many states fail to test mid-day meal samples

Rules remain; many states fail to test mid-day meal samples

Rules remain; many states fail  to test mid-day meal samples

Despite the Centre making it mandatory to test mid-day meal samples at certified laboratories, several state governments are yet to do so. 

The Centre notified rules for the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in September 2015 after the hot cooked meal served in schools under the Centre-sponsored programme became a right for schoolchildren with the enactment of the Food Security Act.

So far, only 16 states and Union Territories got the mid-day samples tested for its quality and nutritional contents. Gujarat topped by getting 1,000 samples tested, followed by Uttar Pradesh (972) and Maharashtra (506). Between Bihar and Haryana, just three samples were tested, five were tested in Mizoram, eight in Assam and 10 in Himachal Pradesh.

While as many as 344 food samples were tested in Delhi since September last year, the Karnataka government has sent just 51 samples for tests.

According to the Human Resource Development Ministry, the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have not yet started sending the meal samples for laboratory testing.

The Mid-Day Meal Rules, 2015, stipulated: “Hot cooked meals provided to children should be evaluated and certified by the government Food Research Laboratory or any laboratory accredited or recognised by the law so as to ensure that the meal meets the nutritional standards and quality specified in Schedule II of the Act.” The Food and Drugs Administration Department of the respective states should collect samples to ensure the nutritive value and quality of the meals, it added.

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