Joining the ranks of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi voiced concerns over the consumption of eggs by students of anganwadis. Citing the problem of storage facility and food delivery mechanism, the minister called eggs hazardous for the health of the children. “If eggs are not stored properly and there is no proper delivery mechanism, there are chances of eggs getting infected with Salmonella. We cannot give eggs infected with Salmonella,” said the minister.
Â Notably, Salmonella is a kind of bacteria which is present in both the outer and inner parts of the egg. If an egg is not refrigerated properly, the bacterium is likely to cause illness.Â Offering an alternative, the minister said, “Something which is locally grown and available, can be distributed easily, does not require refrigeration for storage and can be served hygienically.” Gandhi was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) HealthPhone; a programme which aims to tackle the challenge of malnutrition in women and children, at the national level.
Â “Egg is more expensive than millet,” she pointed out. The minister’s statement to replace eggs with vegetables and millets comes at a time when malnourishment contributes to 45 percent of child deaths in the country and the government is struggling to bring down the percentage of underweight children in the country.
Â “Eggs contain cholesterol. If it is about white part of the egg which is rich in protein then it could be replaced with alternatives like vegetables which do not require refrigeration,” she said.Â Recently, Chouhan had proposed replacing eggs with milk and banana in the menu offered atÂ anganwadi schools.