The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department has now started training temple cooks to in the art of making tastier and healthier temple prasadams. The training includes teaching them to keep the kitchens hygienic among other things.
About 142 cooks from 82 temples in and around Chennai participated in this training program that was conducted at the Vadapalani temple. The cooks from the temple kitchens were trained by officials from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). What has started out with temple cooks in Chennai will soon be expanded to other regions as well. It is to be noted that news media reported devotees falling ill after having eaten the temple prasadam.
Importance to Hygiene
“The cooks (called suyampagis) were from some of the big and famous temples and the training was at Vadapalani temple. The training is on how to use kitchens and how to keep vessels clean etc,” said a senior HR&CE official to TOI. A workshop was also held for the temple officials in New Delhi regarding hygienic offerings. “The FSSAI officials also visited several temple kitchens in the city as well as in other districts,” said the official.
The temple cooks were instructed to wear chef ’s caps to prevent the contamination of the temple prasadam by human hair and to also check the taps. “The officials came into the kitchen where prasadam is cooked, as well as in the kitchen where food is cooked for annadanam (free food). The officials told the cooks not to allow water stagnation in kitchens,” said the official. “The FSSAI officials wanted the temple cooks and contractors to use butter papers in place of plastics while packing prasadams. The officials also advised temple officials to have mosquito nets in kitchens,” he added.
Safety and Quality
Temples in Tamil Nadu are known for their prasadams and the annadanam that is served on religious occasions. “The FSSAI officials also spoke about the quality. They told temple officials to use quality ingredients so that prasadams are of good quality,” said the official. This step is seen as a part of the FSSAI’s rigorous food safety campaigns that are unfolding in the country as well as the state of Tamil Nadu.