Congress slams Kerala govt for exempting school mid-day meal scheme from obtaining food safety licence

The Opposition party also pointed out various incidents of food poisoning reported in state schools in recent times to raise its objection.

ByPTI

Published Apr 16, 2024 | 10:04 PM Updated Apr 16, 2024 | 10:11 PM

File photo of students having a midday meal.

Congress in Kerala on Tuesday, 16 April, urged the state government to reverse its decision to exempt the mid-day meal scheme in state-run schools from obtaining the mandatory food safety licence.

Congress termed as “irresponsible and objectionable” the order issued by the General Education Department not to conduct quality inspections in schools with regard to mid-day meals.

The Opposition party also pointed out various incidents of food poisoning reported in state schools in recent times to raise its objection.

In a letter sent to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan said the order, issued late last month, stated that children’s mid-day meal is not a business venture and so a food safety licence is not required for it.

Citing Section 3 of the Union Government’s Safe Food and Healthy Diet for School Children Regulation 2020, he said the quality of the food being served to children should be ensured.

“It is the constitutional responsibility of the state government to implement the Central Food Security Act. The decision not to comply with the Central law in the matter of children’s mid-day meal is therefore illegal.”

Therefore, the chief minister should intervene to withdraw the “illegal and anti-people” order and to ensure food safety standards in the distribution of mid-day meals to school children, Satheesan said in the letter.

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