INDIA – India’s Food Safety Department is planning to commence the grading of rural child care centres (Anganwadis) on the basis of their food safety compliance.

As part of the second phase of the “Eat Right Challenge,” four Anganwadis under each of the 14 food safety circles in the district will be chosen for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) grading.

The Eat Right Challenge for districts (Phase II) is a competition among districts in the nation to recognize their efforts in implementing initiatives under the Eat Right India movement

It aims to motivate states to develop a food strategy that supports a healthy, safe and sustainable food environment.

Anganwadis will receive a five-star rating based on factors like food storage, personal hygiene, sanitation, cleanliness of facilities, food quality provided to target groups, water quality, and other factors.

According to representatives for food safety, the FSSAI-approved agencies will carry out the performance audits. Food safety officers will then in conjunction with local organizations, choose the Anganwadi to be rated.

The majority of the district’s Anganwadis hold FSSAI licenses, The Hindu reports. Last year, using funds approved by the FSSAI totaling 5 lakh (USD 6287.68), approximately 1,000 Anganwadi staff members received a five-day training on good food practices.

Food safety officials will now carry out a pre-audit where they will examine the food samples to determine whether they meet the various stipulated criteria.

The FSSAI-empanelled organizations will then undertake the final audit on the hygiene standards in Anganwadis when this is finished.

The report will then be uploaded online before issuing the centres with their certificates. Anganwadis with audit scores in the 81–100 range will receive a five-star grade. A four-star grade will be given to those with scores in the 61–80 range.

The grading of Anganwadis is a part of a program to raise hygienic standards.

During the pre-audit, the effectiveness of the training given to the Anganwadi workers will be evaluated. According to the officials, the Anganwadis chosen for the grading would be finalized in a few days, and the grading procedure is anticipated to begin in the second half of the month.

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