Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has made it mandatory that the food products used for preparing free breakfast for school children will have to be certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The move is to ensure that the much-hyped project, which is the first of its kind in the country, is not accused of using poor quality items.
In the state Assembly on May 7, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had announced that Tamil Nadu would roll out free breakfast for children of government schools studying in classes 1 to 4.
The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 33.56 crore for a year and will benefit 1,14,095 students enrolled in the 1,545 government schools in the state.
On Wednesday, Stalin said that he has issued an order for the first phase of the programme and that the FSSAI certification will be made mandatory.
He also said that there would be surprise checks and inspections by food inspectors, adding that the food will be prepared either from a centralised kitchen or from an appropriate place.
According to officials from the state’s school education department, the free breakfast will be provided to students on all working days, and on two days, it will include millets cultivated in the state.
The menu includes, upma with sambar, rava kesari, or semia kesari.
The state government has also strictly issued directives that the reuse of oil is not permitted and strong action will be taken if there was any violation.
The scheme would be implemented by the social welfare department and heads of local bodies like corporations as well as municipality commissioners.