Friday, 22 November 2013

Akshaya Patra operates centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens

Akshaya Patra’s centralised kitchens are large mechanised kitchen units that have the capacity to cook up to 1,00,000 meals. These kitchens act as a node to provide mid day meal to set of schools around that unit. 11 Akshaya Patra Centralised Kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified and the remaining kitchens are in the process of certification.

Decentralised kitchen format become the ideal solution where difficult geographical terrain and improper road connectivity does not support construction of large infrastructure. These kitchens are run by the Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) under the guidance and supervision of Akshaya Patra’s kitchen process and operations module.

While implementing the mid-day meal scheme, Akshaya Patra ensures that it provides hygienic, nutritional and quality meal to children. All the Akshaya Patra kitchens follow strict Food Safety Management System and it starts with maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness of the kitchen staff. Each staff member of the Akshaya Patra kitchens follows a routine hygiene chart comprising of daily shower, use of clean uniforms, caps, masks, gloves, gumboots and other protective gear, and hand sanitisation.

A well-structured Quality Assurance programme is implemented at pre-production, production and post-production stages, across all Akshaya Patra kitchens. Supplier Quality Management System is implemented to procure best quality raw material. The Raw Material Specifications is generally taken and adopted from Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA). To ensure all the raw materials are fresh all the Akshaya Patra kitchens follow the FIFO (First In First Out) and FEFO (First Expiry First Out) methods while issuing the raw material for production.

All Akshaya Patra kitchens follow a standard process for preparing the mid day meals to ensure hygiene, quality of the cooked meals and adherence to the food safety standards. All the cooking equipments are steam sterilised before the cooking process begins. Quality Check is done by Quality Officers in each kitchen to ensure food quality is maintained.

The cooked mid-day meal from the Akshaya Patra kitchens are packed and delivered in steam sterilised vessels in custom-designed delivery vans. These vehicles use a puffed body to reduce the temperature loss and a honey comb structure to hold the vessels upright, avoid any spillage and retain the freshness of the cooked mid-day meal. Logistic charting for route optimisation, GPRS to track the delivery vehicles for safety and on-time delivery are gradually being adopted and implemented across Akshaya Patra centralised kitchens.

To maintain quality of the meal, feedbacks from schools, internal and external reviews and audits are done on a periodic basis. The data from all the feedbacks and audits are reviewed and appropriate improvement or corrective actions are taken. In order to maintain and sustain the quality implementation of the mid day meal scheme, Akshaya Patra kitchens are adopting and implementing various continual improvement programmes like Kaizen, CI Project and Six Sigma methodologies.


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