CHENNAI: Chemistry labs in schools and colleges will soon be a place where students can test the quality of the food which they bring from home or buy outside.
During a high-level meeting involving various representatives held at New Delhi on November 2 (Wednesday), seven states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Delhi submitted various proposals to strengthen the existing food testing infrastructure. One of them was to develop food testing labs in select schools and colleges.
Speaking to Express, a senior FSSAI official said, “Opinion was sought from all participants and Tamil Nadu has expressed willingness to participate in this scheme aimed at creating awareness among students at least about food they consume and among their families through them”.
The Centre had totally allocated `482 crore to strengthen the FSSAI infrastructure this year. However this project being in the conceptual stage, fund allocation is yet to be finalised, said sources in the Union Health Ministry.
During the initial phase, schools and some colleges, which have well-equipped chemistry labs, will be shortlisted for this scheme. Once the funds reached the states, necessary infrastructure to test basic foods would be set up in chemistry labs of the institutions.
Sources added that the number of labs to be set up in different states will be out soon and currently the necessary guidelines were prepared.M Singavelu from Indian Association of Paediatrics said that in most cases children don’t know the ingredients used to prepare their favourite food and once they get to know about them through these labs, they will naturally turn towards healthy foods.
FSSAI officials said that through this initiative under the ‘School Food and Hygiene Programme’ envisaged by the Union Health Ministry, students will get to experiment what they learn in theory within the school campus limitations. Health experts have welcomed this initiative.