The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a NGO in India that provides the daily, nutritious mid day meal programme to over 1.4 million children across India every day. Through this programme the Foundation aims to eliminate classroom hunger in the country. With 24 kitchen units spread out over 10 states of India, reaching out to 10,770 schools, the Foundation is working to realise its vision that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’ Having achieved great progress over the past 15 years since its inception, the organisation has now shifted its focus towards achieving its mission of reaching out to 5 million children by the year 2020. The organisation started with feeding just 1,500 children across 5 schools in Bengaluru (Karnataka, India) in the year 2000. This exponential increase in scale has come about due to the sustainable practices the organisation has incorporated into implementing its programme, as well as the staunch support of the Government of India, corporates and private donors.
Maintaining quality above all else has been a huge priority for this NGO in India. Therefore Akshaya Patra implements Food Safety Management Systems in all its kitchens to ensure the food is absolutely safe for human consumption. In adherence to this, 10 of the kitchens supplying for the mid day meal programme have been ISO 22000: 2005 certified while the rest are in the process of getting certified. Besides this, the kitchens implement other safety and hygiene measures such as ensuring that all the staff maintains good personal hygiene like washing hands and taking daily showers. The staffs working in the kitchen wears uniforms as well as other preventive gear like face masks, hair caps, gloves and gumboots to prevent contaminating the food in any way. On top of this, hygiene charts are placed prominently around the kitchen to educate and inform on good hygiene practices.
Even after the food is cooked for the mid day meal programme, safety measures are strictly followed at Akshaya Patra. This NGO in India has custom designed meal delivery vehicles to transport the food safely to the beneficiary schools. These vehicles are fitted with a honeycomb structure that prevents the food from spilling during transportation, as well as a puffed body which insulates the van and maintains the proper temperature of the food till delivery. Before any food is packed into the vehicle, the vans are also sterilised with steam to keep the food safe for consumption. In testimony to the excellent food safety practices followed at the kitchen, the Foundation has been the recipient of food safety awards like the coveted CII National award for Food Safety in the year 2013 and 2014!
This Foundation has been safely serving nutritious, tasty food to underserved children all across India for the past 15 years. However in order to provide food for education to every hungry child, more needs to be done. Donate to Akshaya Patra to help the children.