After rat in mid-day meal, Delhi food safety department to inspect 33 kitchens
Three days after nine children fell ill at a Delhi government school after consuming a mid-day meal that had a dead rat in it, Delhi’s food safety department will conduct emergency inspections of all 33 mid-day meal kitchens and transportation facilities for the food.
“We will finish inspection of all 33 mid-day meal kitchens tomorrow (Tuesday), after which we will move on to MCD and NDMC-run schools and then private schools as a part of the drive,” said Dr Mrinalini Darswal, Delhi’s food commissioner. Twenty-seven samples were picked up from 11 of the 15 schools inspected on Monday.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, issued the order on Sunday, saying all inspections must be completed by February 24.
“After inspection, if required, improvement notices can be issued and if hygiene is found to be too lacking, the kitchen may be ordered to be shut down,” the order signed by Darswal read.
During the current drive, “surveillance samples” will be picked up during this drive and if need be the food safety officers can later collect legal samples. “There is a specific process that needs to be followed when picking up legal samples that can be presented in the court of law. However, it is time-consuming. Since, this is an emergency inspection drive, we will be collecting surveillance samples. We can pick up legal samples from places that fail the preliminary tests,” said Darswal.
The food safety department has also roped in 18 NABL accredited labs to conduct the inspections. “All NABL accredited empanelled private labs may be directed to pick up surveillance samples from kitchens allotted... Also, water meant for cooking be lifted and tested. All kitchens to be sampled for full testing including microbiological test,” the order read.
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