‘Unique’ sample passes quality test

East Delhi Mayor Annapurna Mishra seems to have wielded a magic ladle. While almost all mid-day meal samples tested by designated laboratory failed the nutrition test, the samples confiscated by the mayor came out with high nutritional value.

‘Protein value of the sample was found to be 14 gm and calorie value was been as 481.2,’ said the report of the ‘unique’ food sample confiscated by the mayor.  ‘The normal nutrient value in a food sample of mid-day meal is minimum 12 gm, 450 calories,’ added the report.

The fat content in the food sample was 16 gm, over three times higher than the prescribed limit of 5 gm for a student in one meal.

The mayor, in her suprise check of the MC primary school in Krishna Nagar in east Delhi on 11 July 2012, found the mid-day meal being served to students ‘substandard and not fit for eating’ and recommended termination of the services of Stri Shakti, the NGO responsible for supplying mid-day meal in the school.

Surprisingly, the sample was not tested for two microbiological parameters- total bacteria count and Coliform count. In the test report of other food samples of mid-day meal, the laboratory did these two tests in accordance with the guidelines of IS:5402-2002 (Reaff.2007) and IS:5401 (Part-1) 2002 (Reaff:2007) respectively, but in this sample, the laboratory forgot these two protocols.

Interestingly, a sample which was picked up from the same kitchen of the same NGO just two days ago on 9 July, failed all parameters of nutrition. In the test report, the food sample showed  8.8 gm of protein, 250.5 calories and 0.9 gm of fat.

Shriram Institute for Industrial Research, the designated laboratory in for chemical analysis of mid-day meal in Delhi, has tried to keep at arm’s length the issue of the ‘unique sample’ confiscated by the mayor.

‘The sampling was not carried out by the institute. The sample details provided in test certificate are based on declaration by the party,’ read a declaration by the institute. ‘A
enveloped packed and duly signed and taped sample of mid-day meal-poori and chhole- taken from MC Primary School, Krishna Nagar, North-A, declared as taken in presense of Principal Councillor Kalpana Jain, DEO Shahdara South, mid day meal inspector and Principal cooked at 6 am was received,’ added the declaration of the report as sample particulars.

A day before the project of mid-day meal was put for approval before standing committee in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) for three years, mayor Annapurna Mishra went on a surprise inspection of the school.

‘I found the quality of food very poor and sub-standard. Only 60-70 students (28 per cent of enrollment) were present in the school but the NGO was charging for 250 students,’ wrote the mayor in her letter to all members of the standing committee, requesting them not to approve the preamble of the commissioner for mid-day meal but later on it was approved as such on the basis of this magical test report.
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