Each wholesome meal made at Annamrita Foundation goes through a set of rigorous processes and procedures carefully controlled under a FSMS – Food Safety Management System.
The salient features of this system are:
The Procurement Process
The procurement process entails 3 crucial factors – Cost, Quality and Delivery – on which the entire process is based.
It is further divided into four steps:
- Understanding Requirements
- Process of Procurement
- Cleaning and Storage
Our kitchens list a detailed sheet of the consumption requirements like grains, lentils, spices, vegetables on a two day basis. Next, we shortlist a FSSAI certified licensed vendor, by sending the vendor's ingredient samples for testing to NABL accredited laboratories.
To maintain packing standards, we ensure methods such as sortex cleaning, packing in clean bags, labeling and cleanliness of the delivery vehicles are in place.
Raw materials and ingredients that go into every meal are inspected and sorted for quantity and quality standards as per FIFO – First In and First Out method in turn maintaining the high cleaniness and hygiene standards.
Rice Cleaning Process
Rice – the best, most nutritive and unquestionably the most widespread staple food consumed around the world.
For the Mid-Day Meals, we receive raw rice from the Government as per our forecasting of the periodic consumption. However, this rice contains impurities and follows a rigourous and elaborate process of cleanliness.
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First, the rice is bagged, heat sealed with PVC sheets and fumigated as the initial step of cleaning.
Pre-cleaning with aspirator:
Rice grains are further cleaned with the help of a Separator and Classifier MTRA machine, where coarse and fine impurities are removed.
This process removes the foreign materials the same size as rice grains via a gravity Separator machine.
Any dust or impurities sticking to the body of the rice particle are removed by polishing. However, in this polishing process the rice kernel's tip remains intact thereby preserving the nutritive value.
Sortex Cleaning – Rice Sorting:
Here rice particles pass through 190 channels fitted with 6 cameras in a sortex machine where each grain is scanned through powerful, hi-res camera to check parameters such as size – the length, width of each grain, colour – discoloured grains are removed.
After all these processes, what remains is clean, impurity free rice ready for cooking in the Annamrita Kitchen.
Operations – Cooking Process
The cooking process in the Annamrita kitchen can be divided into three categories – Cleansing, Cutting and Cooking.
Firstly, the kitchens are thoroughly washed, cleaned to ensure zero contamination and are fumigated, pest controlled every fortnight.
Secondly, our cooks are trained to sanitize themselves before entering the kitchen. Moreover, our staff wear protective gear to prevent contamination plus, every 6 months they undergo medical tests to certify them against any communicable diseases.
Thirdly, our kitchen is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipments and machines made of food-grade stainless steel. Moreover, water is tested at regular intervals for various key parameters for purity.
Fourthly, all food ingredients are thouroughly washed and rinsed prior to cooking.
For potatoes, a potato-peeler effectively removes the skin for further procedure. Vegetables are cut to different sizes after thourough cleaning. Each kitchen has the best technology available for bulk cooking, including heavy weight vegetable-cutting and potato-peeling machines, vegetable crushers and vegetable grinder.
All our food is cooked by the steaming method to ensure maximum retention of taste, colour and nutrients. Based on each day's requirement, we cook the meal in batches and while cooking we maintain the right cooking temperature (above 90 degree centigrade) to ensure safety, high nutritional quality and long shelf life of the food.
Each of these processes are intrinsically related in such a way that each meal is consistently tasty, nutritious and hygienic. The unparalleled taste of purity is due to secret ingredients added : love, devotion and compassion. Over 37 regional recipes served as per local tastes. Along with the principles of safe food handling, we use only fresh ingredients and also clean our kitchens on a daily basis to record consistent high hygiene standards.
Once the food is ready, it's checked and documented for colour, temperature, appearance, flavour and consistency before filling in the containers. Containers are air dried after washing and sanitization, and then filled with food and sealed with a colour coded security seal. The security seal is an important aspect and schools are instructed not to accept containers if the seal is broken. Thus, the sealed containers along with serving spoons are loaded in the delivery vehicles to reach respective schools well before lunch time.
Thus, everyday 418 cooks prepare wholesome meals in 20 Annamrita kitchens & 359 vehicles carry hope and promise to over a million children in 6566 schools across India.