Saturday, March 15, 2014

Accountability test to ensure food safety at hostels

Accountability test to ensure food safety at hostels

Bangalore, Sept 10, 2013, DHNS:
Comprehensive, fool-proof guidelines issued to girls' residential schools across State
DH photo
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has issued elaborate guidelines to ensure that quality meals are served at the residential schools for girls, under the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) and Karnataka Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vasati Nilaya (KKGBV) schemes.

This is part of the measures initiated by the State government following the midday tragedy in Bihar that claimed the lives of several children.

A circular issued recently lists out safety guidelines to be followed at every stage, including the procedures while preparing food, distributing it, choosing an agency to prepare the food and ensuring safe drinking water. 

For example, the circular says that there should be a proper account of the meals served. Teachers, headmasters, wardens of hostels and the head of the SDMC (School Development and Monitoring Committee) need to taste the food before it is served to students.

It is instructed that schoolchildren should be kept away from the kitchens where the meals are prepared and that the kitchens should be situated at a distance from the classrooms.

“We have noticed cases of children falling in cooking vessels and injuring themselves. So, we have issued guidelines to ensure that no child is open to such danger,” said an official source.

The BEOs (Block Education Officers), along with the warden of the hostels, will be responsible for ensuring that water tanks are cleaned regularly, drinking water samples are tested on a routine basis and records of the testing done are maintained  regularly. A selection committee will be responsible for choosing agencies to cook food for the hostels.

In case any fault by the agency comes to light, the selection committee will be held responsible. The BEOs will have to visit hostels at least twice a month and submit a report. There are a total of 71 KGBVs with 8,900 students and 68 KKGBVs with 6,800 students in the State.

“There have been a few incidents of children getting sick in hostels. These measures will ensure that the incidents do not recur. The tragedy in Bihar was a big one and these guidelines will ensure that it is not repeated,” said the source.

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