Quality and Food Safety of MDM
Our Kitchen: Accomplished with high standards of Quality & Food safety systems.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s centralised model is technology-intensive. The automated kitchen facility is a classic example of mechanisation and improved efficiency to ensure quality and food safety. Appropriate technological considerations have governed all phases of the kitchen and equipment design, the choice of the cooking medium, construction of large cauldrons, mechanised high-speed vegetable cutting machines and handling of cooked food. This is done to minimise human intervention and maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene along with custom designed vehicles to safely deliver cooked fresh food on time.
Quality Assurance is key process for the Akshaya Patra to ensure the safe food. Scientific based control measures are established, monitored and verified for all processes by the Quality Control & Quality Assurance team. Quality inspections involves right from the Purchase to delivery of the cooked food. By applying the HACCP principles each process steps are analysed with possible hazard introduction and appropriate control measures are brought in place to eliminate or reduce the hazard to acceptable level, thus safety and norms are ensured. Quality team has all rights to hold, reject any process and products in case of not adhering to required norms. Sensory evaluation is being conducted by trained panel members before releasing the cooked food.
Raw Materials Quality
Quality of raw material is ensured by supplier quality management programme. Suppliers are approved after conducting audit by Regional Quality team at their manufacturing premises for checking quality and food safety compliances. Raw materials are purchased only from Quality approved suppliers. The raw material specifications are circulated to suppliers to deliver good quality raw materials. The raw materials are thoroughly checked by kitchen quality team before accepting the same. If the raw materials are not meeting the FSSAI and AGMARK specifications, it will get rejected. Received vegetables are sorted, washed & sanitised prior to use and stored in the cold storage less than 50 C.
Standardisation of our recipes is an important factor for maintaining high levels of nutrition along with the taste. In order to achieve these this, a well-structured Quality Assurance programme is implemented at all stages of Operations— Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production.
Recipes are designed by keeping the local taste in the mind. Rice-based menus served in the south part and roti based menus served in the northern part of India which makes children to eat delicious meal every single day.
We focus on food consumption by the Beneficiary School children and Ensuring Nutrition Security by providing adequate amount of nutrients like protein & Energy as per MDM Guidelines for all the beneficiary school children’s at lunch times.
Providing Right quantity of nutrients for each child is based on the requirement of National Programme of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (MDMS):
A cooked mid-day meal provides:
The Akshaya Patra recipes contains different food groups (cereals, pulses, vegetables, spices, sugars and jaggery, oils etc.) to ensure the micro and macronutrients.
The recipes are standardised by calculating nutritive values by referring to the book Nutritive Value of Indian Foods (National institute of Nutrition ICMR-Hyderabad) and lab analysis in an NABL lab. Nutritional value complied and approved menus are made available in the ERP system by the nutrition team.
Fortified foods used in the MDM and ICDS programmes
Malnutrition is India’s most significant human development challenge, vitamin and mineral deficiency threatens the health, development and productivity of millions of Indians.
Adding the vitamins and minerals to the food improve its nutritional quality and plays a critical role in correcting or preventing the nutritional deficiency in population.
To fight against malnutrition among children, Akshaya Patra uses fortified rice and wheat flour (contains iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12), double fortified salt (contains iron and iodine), edible oil and milk (contains Vitamin A & Vitamin D) in daily MDM and ICDS programme.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
Akshaya Patra’s centralised kitchens are equipped to prepare meals for large-scale feeding. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are implemented in all the centralised and decentralised kitchen in order to handle, prepare and deliver safe food. GMP audits are conducted regularly to assess the kitchen compliances and scores has been published, pan India.
Good personal hygiene practices are followed at kitchen providing all personal protective equipment like head cap, mask, gloves, shoes and uniform. Kitchens are leveraged with high technology machines which makes very minimum intervention of the humans while preparation and packing of food to avoid cross contamination. Medical check-up, vaccination is done half yearly and health status of the employees are continuously monitored to ensure safe food is being delivered to children’s every day.
All Kitchens follow the “General Hygienic and sanitary practices mentioned in the FSSAI schedule 4 part 5 Requirement”
The cooking in centralised kitchens begins in the morning. All kitchens run by the defined approved menu. All cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, dal/sambar tanks, cutting boards, knives and other equipment are sanitised before usage every single day. All vessels and equipment used in the kitchens are made of food-safe stainless steel of 304 Grade which is capable of withstanding high temperature for long time and its anti-corrosive property makes food safe. Vessels are steam sanitised prior to the food packing and all the vessels are stainless steel insulated vessels which retains the food temperature till serving time.
ISO 22000:2018 - Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS)
ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management system provides complete food safety for the organization and provides the assurance that food will not cause an adverse health effect for the consumer when it is prepared and/or consumed in accordance with its intended use.
ISO 22000 is applicable to all organisations in the food, regardless of size or sector. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has integrated this standard into the process and successfully certified for the 27 kitchens and many more to be certified in future.
It gives various benefits for the organisation like improved quality and safety, improved customer satisfaction, help meeting regulatory requirements, enhances transparency, improved response to the risk, reduce complaint investigation time, global recognition etc.
Akshaya Patra aims to certify all the kitchens for the FSMS (ISO 22000:2018)
ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 - Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS)
In the aspects of protecting the environment and maintaining the health and safety of employees at occupation. Akshaya Patra Foundation has implemented ISO14001(EMS) and ISO 45001 (OHSAS) by complying the vast array of environment and occupation safety laws in 2 kitchens.
This makes organisation setting up a goal – No accidents, no harm to the people and no damage to the environment.
Many kitchens are under the implementation programme for certification.
ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management System (QMS)
ISO 9001:2015 is the world’s best known Quality Management System for companies and organisations of any size to improve the quality of their products and their services and consistently meet their customer expectation.
To ensure the same, the Central office of the Akshaya Patra situated in Bangalore is certified for ISO 9001:2015.
Food Safety and Quality Control Lab – NABL Accreditation
To ensure the safety and quality of raw materials, water, processed food and cooked food, we have FSQC labs in different regions. A total of 21 labs are available across India. These include 17 mini labs and 4 cluster labs. These labs are capable of performing physical, chemical and microbiological analysis. The regional lab situated at Ahmedabad is accredited to ISO 17025:2017- General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration of laboratories.
Training and development
To ensure that all employees, whose activities have impact on food safety, quality and regulatory compliance are trained to have required competencies to perform their duties. By providing the induction training, on the job training, e-Learnings and other trainings which are appropriate to their functions/duties, which are defined in the annual training calendar which is prepared and updated every year.
As per FSSAI, FOSTAC (Food Safety Training and Certification) trained catering supervisors are mandatory for the kitchen. Hence, we have conducted FOSTAC- advanced catering level-2 supervisor training from the FOSTAC approved trainers frequently to comply the requirement.