New Delhi: More than 900 children were reported ill across the country with zero fatalities due to the consumption of mid-day meals in the past three years, according to officials of the Human Resource Development Ministry.

The Ministry had received 35 complaints from 15 States and Union Territories (UTs) regarding substandard food quality in the same period.

“A total number of 930 children were reported ill and none of them died after eating such food in the country in the last three years and current year. The overall responsibility for providing cooked and nutritious midday meals to eligible children lies with State governments,” a senior HRD ministry official said.

The Midday Meal Scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy.

Respective State governments were requested to furnish action-taken reports (ATRs) in the matter, he said.

“As per the reports received, actions such as issuing warning against the official responsible, terminating the contract of NGOs concerned and organisations, initiating criminal proceedings and imposing penalties against the defaulting persons (were taken),” the official said.

The HRD Ministry has also issued guidelines on quality, safety and hygiene in school-level kitchens.

“The guidelines provide instructions on procuring AGMARK quality items for preparation of midday meals, tasting of meals by two or three adult members of the school management committee, including at least one teacher, before serving to children,” the official said. (PTI)

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