Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Akshaya Patra kitchens cooking up hygienic mid-day meals

It’s not just preparing mid-day meals rather it’s about preparing it hygienically by retaining all the nutrition- a common thread that runs across all Akshaya Patra kitchens. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been recognised as the world’s largest NGO run mid-day meal programme. It provides mid-day meals to over 1.3 million children every day covering more than 10,000 Government schools across 20 locations of nine Indian states.

Akshaya Patra knows the importance of providing healthy, hygienic and nutritious meals to the children. It directs all its efforts towards providing ‘unlimited food for education’. The best part about the food for children provided by Akshaya Patra is its quality of being universal. Though the mid-day meals cooked in each Akshaya Patra kitchen may vary slightly in order to cater to the local palate but the food cooked can be consumed by children of all communities. This has also led to improved socialisation among children. It allows every child to sit together and enjoy their meal.

All Akshaya Patra kitchens follow standard process for the production of the mid-day meals. Even though the Akshaya Patra kitchens follow two formats- centralised kitchen and decentralised kitchen format yet the food safety measures taken by the Foundation is very rigid. The format for a particular Akshaya Patra kitchen depends on the terrain and accessibility of the location. Being functional in 20 locations, the Foundation operates centralised kitchens in 18 locations and the remaining two locations namely Baran in Rajasthan and Nayagarh in Odisha follow the decentralised format. Of the 18 centralised kitchens, 11 kitchens of Akshaya Patra are ISO certified and the remaining seven are in the process of certification.

The Akshaya Patra ISO certified kitchens are a testimony to the food safety standards maintained by the Foundation in preparation of food for children. A more detailed process of Akshaya Patra kitchens can be viewed at The Akshaya Patra Kitchen Infrastructure. The centralised kitchen format of the Foundation has received citation in NP-NSPE guidelines a model infrastructure for large scale mid-day meals production. Akshaya Patra also bagged the CII National Award for Food Safety 2013 by The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII-Jubilant Bhartia Food & Agriculture Centre of Excellence). The Foundation is always committed to provide nutritious and hygienic mid-day meals to children without any compromise. 

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