Even Temple Prasadams in Tamil Nadu will now conform to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) norms, with Palani temple's famous 'Panchamirtham' taking the lead. Prasadams offered in temples administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) of the state government will have expiry dates printed on the containers to indicate how long it will remain safe to consume.
The Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple in Palani will be the first to offer prasadams with expiry dates to devotees, HR & CE officials told TOI.
"We have sent the panchamirtham to the food safety authority for determination of its shelf life. After they issue a licence, we will start printing the date of expiry on the tins marketed at the counters of the temple," an HC and CE official told TOI.
Other temples will soon follow suit with the food safety department testing the prasadams to determine their shelf life.
To comply with the hygiene standards mandated by the FSSAI, temple cooks and handlers who made the prasadam were trained to follow food safety norms. As many as 300 food handlers from 20 big temples in Tamil Nadu were trained at a workshop on food safety and hygiene implementation in holy places, as part of Project BHOG in New Delhi launched by FSSAI last year.
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments controls over 36,500 temples in Tamil Nadu including big temples such as the Madurai Meenakshi temple and Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram. Prasadams in these temples are both sold over counters and given for free to devotees.
"Apart from this, steps are being taken to sell prasadams in eco-friendly containers," R Jaya, Commissioner of FSSAI told TOI.