The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has served notice to the Directorate of Education after taking suo moto cognizance of the media report on the presence of worms in mid-day meals (MDM) served to the children at schools across Ponda taluka.
This is outrageous, sheer neglect and shocking, especially since it was already consumed by children, despite monitoring mechanisms in place.
The MDM scheme has an elaborate monitoring mechanism at the state and district levels as well as at the local level to ensure quality food is served to children under the scheme.
“This incident shows complete carelessness on the part of all those who are part of the monitoring mechanisms across all levels and demands serious action,” says Peter F Borges, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
In the notice, the Goa SCPCR cited that MDM guidelines provide for instructions to schools to procure Agmark quality and branded items for the preparation of mid-day meals, tasting of meals by 2-3 adult members of the School Management Committee, including at least one teacher, before serving the same to children and to put in place a system of testing of food samples by accredited laboratories.
Further, the MDM Rules, 2015, provide for mandatory testing of food samples by government-recognised laboratories to ensure that the meals meet nutritional standards and quality.
The Commission called for an enquiry into the incident and necessary action against those responsible as per the law. It has further called the Directorate of Education to file the status of all monitoring mechanisms at various levels in place to prevent further such incidents.