Food Safety body to standardise temple prasadams and fix ‘best before’ dates in Tamil Nadu

When it comes to temple prasadams, faith in God has traditionally been a good enough guarantor of food safety. But soon, the sacred offerings made to the deities, such as laddus, murukku, vadai, and adhirasam, will get third party validation of their safety and quality in the form of certification by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The 47 major temples in Tamil Nadu plan to sell prasadams in food grade containers that will have ‘best before’ dates.

Already, the Sri Dandayudhapani Temple in Palani has gone in for licensing of its Panchamirtham. This famous prasadam now comes packed in containers, along with labelling that enumerates the ingredients, weight, price, FSSAI licence number, and other details stipulated by the Food Safety Department (FSD), said an official from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department.

Regular inspections

The HR and CE Department has directed temples that sell prasadams over the counter to go in for licensing from the FSD, which will test samples to provide a ‘best before’ date. There would also be regular inspections from the FSD to ensure quality and quantity in the prasadams being sold.

Among the major temples in the State, the Palani temple was the first to go in for FSSAI certification. Prasadams in temples are usually made by contractors who get the tender for a year, from July to June. “Contractors have been asked to ensure quality. We are planning to involve experts in the making of sweets and savouries to bring in standardisation. Already, the Food Safety Department has conducted training programmes for the contractors and also for the madapalli staff of temples,” an official said. We have also asked them to ensure that items cooked using rice be sold as soon as possible, he added.

The FSD also ensures the quality of food at major temple festivals.

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