Coming under criticism for not including garlic and onion as part of the mid-day meal scheme in Karnataka, the Akshaya Patra foundation issued a statement on Tuesday stating that its ‘meals were in compliance’ with the standards given by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the state government. This comes after the foundation reportedly did not comply with the MHRD’s orders to include garlic and onion in the food prepared for children as part of the mid-day meal scheme in the state.
While officials from Akshaya Patra have come out to say that their meals are in accordance with all regulations, Joint Director of the State Mid-Day Meal Scheme, MR Maruthi stated that the foundation was violating the memorandum signed between the organisation and the government by not including onion and garlic in the meals.
Akshaya Patra is one of the largest providers of mid-day meals in the state of Karnataka. They avoid adding garlic and onion to their food as part of their principle of serving only ‘satvik’ food, which does not include these two ingredients.
Maruthi further stated to media, that the foundation had been given instructions to include onion and garlic in their meals for a day, at least. He further added that Akshaya Patra had not signed the memorandum for the year 2018-2019, opting to prepare and serve satvik meals instead.
“We would like to clarify that our freshly cooked meals are in compliance with the nutrition norms prescribed by the MHRD and Government of Karnataka. It is our constant endeavour to contribute to the Government’s efforts in promoting good health and nutrition amongst children which is essential for their holistic growth and development. Akshaya Patra is committed to serve quality, hygienic and nutritious food to school children every day and implement Akshara Dasoha, the flagship mid-day meal programme of the government of Karnataka,” reads the statement issued by Akshaya Patra.