Mumbai : ISKCON on Sunday explained their stand with regard to the incident in Palghar school in which over 100 students were hospitalized after consuming the mid-day meal. In a press release it said that it cooks food in state of the art kitchens certified for ISO 22000 to ensure hygiene. The cooking is done using modern equipment and processes, it added.
All our utensils are made from Food Grade Stainless Steel, said the release. ISKCON is certified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for following norms of procurement, processing, packaging and dispatching. On the day the fateful incident took place, the organization’s supervisor had tasted the food as per protocol, the organization said. The meals are generally dispatched in sealed insulated stainless steel containers to reach schools. Also, the school principal on receiving the sealed containers first tastes the food, before it reaches the children. This protocol too was followed on that day, it said.
On receiving news of the children being hospitalized, the organizations’s Assistant Branch Manager Ganesh Nakhate and our Branch Manager Balaji Iyer immediately rushed to the school and then to the hospital, it said. They were told that three children complained of nausea and were taken to the Primary Health Centre.
Other students also became panicky and nervous and soon started complaining of nausea, it said. None of the students vomited, had loose motions, or were dehydrated, said ISKCON in defence. The students were given treatment as a precautionary measure and all students were discharged and normal, it said. ISKCON says that its managers were told by the locals that many students had banana wafers and pickles before having their midday meal, from the stall opposite the school. The collector has sent the samples of these for investigation. It has been reported by one newspaper that the quality of the water from the well from which children drink water is also bad and may be the cause of the problem, the release said. ISKCON further said that from the same Wada Kitchen they prepare meals which are supplied to 25523 children of 321 schools in Wada and 19422 children of 123 schools in Vikaramgad talukas a total of 44,945 children from 552 schools every day. On February 25 too, the same was done, yet the problem was reported from only one school. Lucky Kulkarni, ISKCON spokesperson said, “Since it is only a bunch of children from only one particular school that have faced the problem, there is a need to understand the issue with proper facts and investigation.”