NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS P. A. BHASKARAN. O n e of the major...
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS
P. A. BHASKARAN.
O n e of the major problems of Industrial Welfare W o r k is the supply of cheap but nutritive diet on the
workplace to our workers who are almost always haunted by hidden hunger. In the following article,
parts of which appeared in the Indian Textile Journal (September), the writer, discussing the value of food
to the working population, outlines the objectives, scope and principles of canteen management in industries
Mr. Bhaskaran (Tata Institute '45) has made a special study of Labour Welfare problems.
The need for improved diet among
deficiency although they are not fatal
industrial workers has been increasingly
nor incapacitating, constitute the hub
felt in our country, especially during
of the problem of malnutrition...
these years of stress and strain when a good
They undermine the will to d o . . .
portion of our man-power is engaged
They seriously depress resistance to
in what are known as " essential services."
other diseases and in women contri-
Never before, perhaps, has the attention
bute to the concurrence of
of informed intelligence and government
complications during pregnancy...The
authorities regarding the importance of
undernourished are unable to hold
industrial nutrition, been so keenly engaged
jobs if they find them... They become
as it is to-day. This increasing importance of
industrial nutrition has been felt due to the
This, by itself, makes an eloquent
growing appreciation of what some nutri-
plea for the urgent need of improved diet
tionists call " the sub-nutritive s t a t e " or among our industrial workers to promote
" h i d d e n - h u n g e r " among our industrial the optimum efficiency and prolonged
Workers. It only means a moderate degree psychologic well-being which will result
of dietary deficiency of some kind. The in greater working capacity, fewer absences
body, when it fails to get the right kinds from work and a decrease in the number
of food to provide it with energy, to of accidents.
furnish materials for building and repair-
ing it and to provide the substances that
Food nourishes the body in three
help to regulate its complicated processes, ways. (1) In the first place, it furnishes
suffers from "hidden-hunger." The the fuel to yield energy, which finds its
workers who suffer from "hidden-hunger" overt expression as warmth and work.
will tire more easily, will be more liable (2) Secondly, it supplies the structural
to suffer from accidents, resulting from materials for the growth and structural
abnormal fatigue, will be more susceptible upkeep of the body tissues. (3) Lastly,
to minor illness and will be prone to have it provides substances, which keep bodily
lower morale. Malnutrition wrecks morale conditions in the right manner, so that
and spells defeatism and despondency. life processes proceed normally.
Wilder, an American nutritional enthusiast,
Experts are of opinion that something
like 40 nutrients are furnished by the
"Nutritional deficiency saps the already known food materials to the human
vitality in so insidious a way that the body. For purposes of convenience and
victim may be unaware that enough clarity, we shall follow the conventional
is wrong to consult a doctor
" four-square grouping of nutrients, namely
The minor degrees of nutritional (a) the Energy requirements, (b) the Protein
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 207
requirements, (c) the Mineral or Inorganic the diet from shortage of essentials of
elements and (d) the Vitamins. To food from many angles, can never be
resort to a mechanical analogy, which is over estimated. Milk presents these three
after all only a portion of the whole organic constituents abundantly and in
picture, the human body can be compared right proportions as well as some water
to a motor car and the fuel foodstuffs have and mineral matter. It also contains vita-
their counterpart in the gasoline for the mins to some extent, but the amounts
automobiles, the protein and some of the of those are too small to be seen in such
minerals to the materials of which the simple ways as are proteins, fats and
motor is made, the remaining minerals carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates
to its lubricants and the vitamins to the occur in many other forms of food, too.
ignition sparks whose own energy is In fact, one or more of them can be dis-
insignificant but which perform the in-
cerned in almost each and every article,
dispensable function of keeping the motor known as food. In wheat and rice flour,
running in an orderly way.
so extensively used in our country, the
typical carbohydrate and starch predomi-
(a) The Energy Aspects of Good
nate. The amount of fats, perhaps, is
—Every act and moment of our invisibly small. In meat, distinct layers
life involves an expenditure of energy and to of nearly pure fat can often be seen by the
estimate properly the energy requirements naked eye. It is calculated that the lean
of a worker, it is necessary to allow for the portions of meat consist chiefly of proteins
extra calories consumed beyond the fixed with about three times their weight of
working hours and for some of the ordinary water and about 1 % of a mixture of salt.
pursuits of pleasure and relaxation, which The old idea that a manual worker needs
he ususally indulges in. Food is the only more meat is considered to be erroneous
source which supplies this much needed in the light of modern researches. The
energy and modern science by the aid of actual protein requirements of the human
calorimeters, has been able to measure the body are practically independent of the
energy or fuel values of food, with a good amount of physical exertion and remain
amount of precision. That the body burns fairly constant for sedentary and strenuous
a little of the foodstuffs to meet the needs workers, but their total food needs
of keeping itself warm is anyway a minor are very different. Work in heavy
factor. For instance, it is calculated, that industries requires a high energy expendi-
an average-sized man sitting still or relaxing ture and then the need for fats, starch
spends about 65 to 100 calories(*) an hour and sugar which are the energy-providing
and requires only 2,000 calories a d a y ; substances is greater. Strenuous work,
whereas, in the case of a manual if done under generally hygienic condi-
worker an eight-hour use of his large tions, stimulates appetite and improves
muscles may easily double the day's digestion and hence more foods richer
energy output. The more abundant nutri-
in fats are taken in by the working class
ents or foods which are burned (oxidised,) with impunity.
in the body are carbohydrates, fats and
proteins. The importance of milk as a
Recent investigations into the field
complete food in nature, which protects of industrial nutrition indicate that
* Calorie means the amount of heat required to
raise the temperature
of one kilogram of water to 10
208 P. A. BHASKARAN
" frequency of meals " bears an important century ago from a Greek verb, which
relationship to fatigue. It is now well literally means " t o take the first place"
known that hunger leads to general and was given a name to what was supposed
weakness, irritability of temperament, to be the fundamental substance of body
diminished ability to concentrate and tissues.
a disinclination to work. It is reported
that there is a distinct rise in the muscular
The main contents of protein are
ability of the worker soon after meals. nitrogen and amino-acids, the former form-
The findings of well-controlled studies ing 1 6 % of the total substance. It is said
prove that the productivity of workers that a typical protein molecule is so large
accustomed to 3 meals a day improved as to contain hundreds of amino-acids,
significantly when the workers were given but usually they are of 20 kinds, of which
additional light lunches in mid-shift rest half alone need be supplied by food,
periods. It may be remembered that there the other half being synthesised by the
is no violation of the principle of nutrition
metabolic changes in the human system
in providing more frequent meals to the itself.
workers. The only thing to be guarded
Uptill now, there is no consensus
against is that the total daily food intake of opinion among experts as to how
is thereby not made excessive and the much protein would be best for each
requirements of a well-balanced diet are individual to take in, in the interests of
met with. The food served between meals nutritional well-being. In our country,
should meet other qualifications which wheat, rice and cereals furnish over one
are important in dispensing supplementary third of the total protein of our typical
feedings to workers, throughout the plant. dietaries to-day. In western countries,
Also they should require only little pre-
the idea of enrichment of foodstuffs
paration, should be easily and quickly now current enhances the actual value
consumed and easily preserved with little of, and the confidence in, ordinary white
or no danger of contamination. They bread. Here, in India too, the nutritive
should not come into contact with the value or nutritional efficiency of the proteins
worker's hands and must not leave an of our grain products is a problem of
organic residue to litter the manufacturing real importance, awaiting immediate labo-
areas. These are only some of the main ratory analysis and research. Several
things to be borne in mind in the prepara-
independent experiments have already
tion, preservation and distribution of shown conclusively that the proteins of
foodstuffs in an industrial canteen. Those the whole or unhusked wheat or rice
who are in charge of the canteens are are of much higher nutritive value than
also to remember that they have to cater white flour or polished grains. The in-
to a wide range of tastes, and success in this
fluence of tradition among our people
lies in keeping foodstuffs attractive and is so strong that even to-day many believe
appetizing even after repeated use. The food
that protein carries all nutritional respon-
served should be easily digestible and should
sibilities beyond those of calories. Modern
not cause gastric disturbances.
knowledge of nutrition has shattered this
(b) Proteins and their Amino-acids in
belief and shown that mineral elements
Food and Nutrition.
—The word "protein" and vitamins are as important as calories
has almost a traditional force in our and proteins. The best sources of essential
nutritional terms. It has been coined a amino-acids are animal protein rather than
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 209
those of cereal or vegetable origin, because The soft tissues of the body contain
the composition of the former is more considerable amounts of phosphorous but
nearly akin to that of human beings, only very small amounts of calcium.
and hence they are considered to be Rickets, so common among working class
of higher nutritional value. For the average children in India, is due to low amounts
adult it is estimated that the sources of of phosphorous which can be amended
protein should be equally divided between by proper food supplies. But calcium,
animal and vagetable matter.
deficiency is a more important problem
in nutrition, because it results in a shortage
(c) The Mineral Elements in Food and
of bone-building materials. In our usual
Nutrition.—The development of 20th dietaries themselves, there are adequate
century science has fully appreciated the amounts of phosphorous present without
idea that the body's framework or skeletal any special planning on our part. But
system of bones and teeth owes its strength calcium deficiencies in nutrition are much
and normal form to the fact of its being more important and there is no good
well-mineralised. Speaking from the way of detecting them, especially in the
common sense point of view even, initial stages. Still, present day knowledge
it is not difficult to understand that the of life-time relationships has made it
chemical elements are the ultimate consti-
abundantly clear that most people are
tuents of which the physical world (both born calcium poor. By this, it is meant
"living and non-living) is built. Mineral that the human body at birth has not
salts are the things that ' put life into ' only a much smaller amount but also
the proteins of the body tissues and a much smaller percentage of calcium
fluids. Small elements of such soluble than the normal fully developed body
mineral salts are constantly present in the contains. There is no doubt that the
soft tissues and fluids of the body. But characteristic of being born with soft
some of these inorganic elements are flexible bones has a survival value for the
required by the body in rather substantial human species, for it renders the process
amounts, notably calcium, iron, magnesium,
of giving birth easier and safer. Having
phosphorous, sodium, chlorine, potassium, born thus safely, the calcium contents
iodine and sulphur. There are also more of the body have to catch up promptly
numbers of other elements to be added to and concurrently with the other aspects
this list of essentials to life, many of which, of its development and this requires an
however, have not been subjected to accentuated need for calcium, compared
adequate tests, to determine, whether to the other body-building materials. An
or not, they should be included as in-
adequate intake of calcium produces a
dispensable food elements. Special
gradual decalcification of the bones.
attention, however, has been paid to four Fractures occur as a result of insignificant
main mineral elements, namely, calcium, little jolts and tumbles, particularly among
phosphorous, iron and iodine, because, adults of middle-age and above. A weak
optimal amounts of these are least likely skeleton is a hazard even in the ordinary
to be provided by a hit-and-miss method pursuit of life, not to speak of the strenuous
of food selection.
industrial occupations. To prevent this,
Phosphorous are the out-
the best thing is to supply the body with
standing elements of mineral matter in liberal amounts of calcium and phosphor-
the building up of our bones and teeth. ous. Of the ordinary foods not one is
210 P. A. BHASKARAN
superior to milk' as a source of calcium as iodide, through drinking water and
or phosphorous. A pint of milk per day table-salt. Refined salt is essentially sodium
for every adult would be most helpful chloride alone, since the purification of
in fulfilling these requirements.
salt results in nearly a complete loss of
the iodide which was naturally present.
The results of what are known as Iodine deficiency can best be guarded
" C a l c i u m Balance Experiments" on against by the use of iodised salt. Sea-food
animals have made it abundantly clear in the diet too supplies ample quantities
that a liberal amount of calcium intake of iodine. The daily iodine requirements
through food is increasingly beneficial of the adult are approximately 0.045 mg.
both to the development of the young The thyroid is capable of storing excess
and to better health and longer life in the iodine and for that reason iodine need
adult. A liberal amount of calcium in the not be present in the daily diet. Sodium
food results in a better development chloride is one of the specific concerns
of the internal structures of the bones, for certain group of industrial workers.-
particularly in the porous ends of the long For example, the fact of workers engaged
bones, where it means a greatly increased in occupations resulting in profuse sweat-
surface of bone mineral in contact with ing leading readily to heat cramps or
the circulating blood and, therefore, a exhaustion is associated with serious salt
much more prompt and effective restora-
depletion. The loss of salt is greatest
tion of the blood calcium to full normal during initial exposure to heat. Iodine
concentration even after all the many tablets are now available in the market
small wastages that occur in everyday and an effervescent drink with iodine
life as well as under various conditions salt duly sweetened can solve this problem.
of extra work have taken place. The more
quickly and completely the blood recovers
—The idea has been so
from every decline in its calcium content, much before the public that a formal
the better the body maintains its highest introduction to the vitamin family is
degree of health and efficiency. In our superfluous. Though called by a group
country milk and green vegetables are the name, they are not a natural and closely
chief sources of dietary calcium. Surprising related group and merit individual study
as it sounds, there are countries using bone and judgment as a nutrient. Each member
as food to make up calcium deficiency.
of this indispensable group has its own part
to play and excess of one will not compen-
Iron.—There is no need of special sate for the deficiency of another. Vitamin
planning so far as this particular mineral is deficiency is a form of malnutrition.
concerned, since natural whole grain or Deficiency diseases such as pellagra, beri-
enriched or restored breadstuffs and cereals beri, scurvy and rickets are found to be
occupying their full normal place in our caused by this. Modern scientific research
food habits and dietaries containing other into this field has revealed more subtle
foods which we generally use will usually forms of diseases too. Slowly accumulated
furnish enough iron. The only individuals evidences indicate that inadequate diets
who need more of iron are anaemic patients may be responsible for such symptoms
and they should be treated as a medical as easy fatigue, indigestion, loss of weight,
rather than a normal nutritional respon-
depression, retarded learning, interference
with vision and lowered resistance to
enters the body almost entirely disease. Stomatitis, dental caries, cheilitis,
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 211
glossitis, and bleeding gums are evidences factor in the building of hitherto accepted
of malnurishment seen daily by the normal levels of performance to better
dental profession. ,
health and longer life. Experiments on
growing boys have also shown that the
It is not easy, nor is it necessary, entire Vitamin A lends an extra impetus
for an article of this type to go into details even to an already normal rate of growth
regarding each and every one of the and development. It may be remembered
vitamins. Modern scientific tendencies are in this connection that the much popular
to give each of these substances a distinct term "Protective Food," to milk, fruits
and independent name, when sufficiently and vegetables has been attributed by
acquainted with its chemical nature. The Mc Collum, because of their high Vitamin
use of alphabetical sequence is only a A values.
device for convenience.
Bl (Thiamine) is essential
A is a colourless fat-soluble at all ages to the right use of the fuel
substance occurring to an important extent foodstuffs, particularly of the carbohydrate.
in milk, eggs, fish liver oils, the livers of Shortage of this particular vitamin results
other animals, leafy green vegetables, dried in the circulation of deleterious products
apricots, etc. It incidentally contributes of incomplete oxidation in the blood and
to that alertness so necessary for safety usually leads to the failure of appetite
in the workshop. A lack of Vitamin A and an onset of functional disorder.
results in the retardation of growth and The prevalence of beri-beri in our country,
dryness of the skin. It is essential to the especially in the South, where people
maintenance of the normal cellular struc-
predominantly live on rice may be
ture and function of the body's internal attributed to this.
and external surface membranes. Vitamin
B2 or G
A shortage can result in injuries of the is ' ' t h e second member of the B group
mucous membrane in any part of the of vitamins" and an important factor in
body and troubles in respiratory, digestive the oxidation of enzymes (organic
and excretory systems. It has been also substances formed in living tissues and
found to result in " n i g h t blindness"— functioning by favouring or expediting—
a diminution of one's ability to see in a dim stirring up or speeding up—some of the
light or to adapt one's vision to a change natural chemical reactions that are involved
of intensity of illumination. Recent reports in our nutritional and other life processes)
from America that the keenness of the of our tissues and in the maintenance
sight of aviators and industrial workers of their stamina and resistance to strain
has been increased, and the night accidents and to several diseases. Pellagra can be
of the automobile industries decreased, easily conquered by riboflavin. Milk forms
by the use of diets of higher Vitamin A the best source in this case too.
value, though lacking in the conclusive-
ness of laboratory findings, bring us some
C (Ascorbic acid).—The name
important suggestions. Interesting and im-
ascorbic acid is given to Vitamin C,
pressive evidences on the constructive because it is the substance which prevents
side are also available through well-
scurvy and cures it with dramatic
controlled experiments on rats (who promptness, if it is not too far advanced.
resemble human beings very closely in
" I t is essential to the integrity
their reactions to Vitamin A) is a large
of the cement substance which lies
212 P. A. BHASKARAN
between the cells of the body's various Potatoes should be cooked with little
tissues and keeps each cell properly contact with air and eaten with as little
set and supported for the performance delay after preparation.
of its part in the work of the body.
D (The Antiarchitic Acid).—
This involves, among other things, It is a fat soluble substance which prevents
the prevention of haemorrhages or rickets. As to the sources, it can be found
oozing of blood through tissues, which to some extent in egg-fat and milk and in
due to a shortage of Vitamin C occur much greater concentration in fish-liver
in almost any part of the body ; oils. Compared to the last, the first two
the maintenance of healthy conditions are negligible. Direct sunshine or artificial
of the gums and teeth ; the develop-
light containing suitable ultraviolet rays
ment and maintenance of right relations
produces Vitamin D in the human body.
between the ends of the growing
bones of a matrix suitable for normal
—Much is yet to be
calcification within each bone ; the known about the Vitamin family. There
prevention of some forms of anaemia ; are some more members added to the B
the regulation of heart muscle or group, and E and H also have been found
muscle tone generally."
by experts. Mention may be made in this
There are interesting indications to connection of what is known as Niacin
show that Vitamin C has an important (Nicotinic Acid) which is said to have
part to play in what has been attractively powers of killing pellagra. It has been
called '' the preservation of the charac-
found capable of curing the black tongue
teristics of youth." It resists toxins formed in the dog. But it should not be forgotten
by certain species of bacteria.
that curing the symptoms does not restore
the pellagra patients to full health. Never-
C is a substance which is theless, it must be admitted that Niacin
easily decomposed, especially when heated deficiency is a part of what is wrong
in contact with air and with catalytic with pellagra patients.
substances which increase the rate of
oxidation. Short-time cooking in copper
poly-vitamin Preparations in Industry.
vessels with little or no contact with air It is only a simple fact that good nutrition
is the best method to retain Vitamin C.
must be based on a good diet of natural
foodstuffs. It is not advisable to assure
Two more important facts about the industrial workers indiscriminately that
Vitamin C need to be noted.
they can obtain optimum nutritional health
(a) Some foods hold their initial through the ingestion of a certain number
Vitamin C value much better than do other of vitamin capsules regularly. Distribution
foods, e.g. Tomatoes are much better of polyvitamin capsules or synthetic vita-
in this matter than other foods like mins, without proper guidance, is not at
all advisable ; for :—
(b) Apples and potatoes, though not
" Supplementing the diet with
outstanding in their Vitamin C contents,
synthetic vitamins fails to make pro-
being extremely popular, can be considered
vision for deficiencies in protein,
as a good source, provided they are taken
fats, carbohydrates, minerals and the
in, in abundance and handled properly.
numerous necessary factors which have
Apples may be eaten raw and in season.
not been made available in crystalline
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 213
form, but are nevertheless essential individual to grow up. This brings us to
for the maintenance of health."
the idea of the "Balance Diet." But it
does not in anyway hold that every time
True, under certain conditions, it we prepare our food there should be
may not be advisable to depend upon an actual weighing of the food materials
the available " n a t u r a l foodstuffs" alone and their mixing up in the right proportion.
for all the essential food factors. It is best The human system is able to tolerate
to fall back upon the recommendations occasional variations in the diet. The only
of the U.S. Department of War Food thing we have to guard against is a long-
Administration, so far as this matter is continued excess or deficiency of one or
concerned. In very eloquent terms they more components which will impair the
declare, that "Where there exists an working of the human system. Tables
excessive loss of salts or vitamins from of a balanced diet in India with due
the body, where energy output and, there-
considerations for moderate expenses,
fore, metabolic requirements for these which the average labourer will be able
substances are extraordinarily high, or where
to afford, are now available in many publi-
therapeutic amounts are indicated, the cations on health matters in our country,
need for the administration of available such as those of the Bombay Presidency
foods may be present...Again, where the Health Week Association, the Health
available food supply cannot be depended Bulletins published from the Government
upon to satisfy even the average require-
of India Press, etc. It may be worthwhile
ments for certain essential food factors, for us, within the scope of an article of
either because of deficiencies in supply this type, to enunciate some of the broad
or due to irremediable losses in the storage, principles of such a grouping rather than
transportation or preparation of foodstuffs, enter into a discussion of accurate details.
indications for the use of food concentrate It can be best done by quoting the seven-
or synthetic vitamins may be present... fold classification of the U.S. Department
Such conditions should be defined by of War Food Administration. Preceded
a trained dietician or a plant physician."
by the admonition to eat at least one
food from each of these groups and
In the prophylaxis of vitamin followed by the remark that ' then you
deficiency diseases, foods naturally rich may eat any other food you like,' the
in vitamins such as '' Yeast liver, certain classification runs thus :
fish liver oils, and wheat germ " are con-
sidered preferable to the synthetic vitamins.
Wherever possible, such foods should
(1) Green and yellow vegetables.
also be incorporated in the therapy of.
(2) Oranges, tomatoes, grape fruits
nutritional diseases along with sufficient
or raw cabbage, or salad greens'
amounts of the indicated synthetic vitamins.
(3) Potatoes and other vegetables
Having seen the four-squared aspect
of nutritional values, it becomes imperative
(4) Milk and milk products—fluid,
for us to consider the proper groupings
evaporated, dried milk or
of foods with due regard to their nutritional
values and their place in the diet. Food
should not be merely a substance just
(5) Meat, poultry, fish or egg—or
to stop persons from being hungry, but
dried beans or nuts or peanut
it should be capable of helping the
214 P. A. BHASKARAN
(6) Bread, flour and cereals—natural faulty food habits of our people and partly
wholegrain, enriched or res-
it is stimulated by disparity in prices.
Milk, fruits and vegetables in our country
remain the food of capitalists and spiritual
(7) Butter and fortified margarine aristocrats, and it is far from the reach
(i.e. margarine with added of an average labourer's economic means.
Poverty of cooking and serving facili-
Enriching of bread by using skim-
ties in the rapidly expanding plants is
milk is a recent process adopted in nutri-
another important problem we have to
tion policies. 6% as much skim-milk face. This situation is further aggravated
powder as flour can be used in bread by the low-grade restaurants which spring
making, with distinct nutritional advantage up around the factory, over which the
and no detriment to the physical pro-
management has no control. The culinary
perties of the bread. Dietaries better facilities in the homes of the workers
balanced from the view point of the are grossly inadequate and it is not un-
newer knowledge of nutrition have enabled common that workers come to the factory
factory employees to work with higher without any breakfast. It has been
efficiency and less fatigue increasing both authoritatively stated that one half of our
the quality and quantity of their output, fuel is eaten up in the form of sugar and
with fewer accidents to themselves and bread. To this may be added the refined
fats which make up two-thirds of our
energy intake in the form of '' inert
Nutrition Problems in Industry.
calories " furnishing fuel only and nothing
To-day a large portion of our industrial else. In a large majority of cases amongst
population carry their meals in lunch the working classes, the limited food
" d u b b a s . " Tradition has a great sway budget is spent unwisely along with the
over the regulation of the food habits prevalence of fixed or faulty food habits.
in our country, and the pity of it is that
they go by caste, community and even
These findings referring to the factory
region. True it is, that some of the Indian and home, make it clear that while nutri-
Industries have made an attempt to provide tion remains a family and individual
some in-plant feeding through canteens. problem, it is as well an industrial problem.
But the exterme poverty of the workers, There are a number of ways in which
coupled with the lack of provision and low industrial leaders can ,help to improve
quality of the food served in the all-too-
the nutritional status of all their workers.
meagre existing canteens, necessitates the
labourers bringing their meals from home. Three Main Lines of Approach.
In large and extensive plants, a single main lines of attack in the improvement
cafetaria is inaccessible for the major of nutritional standards through industrial
population in the factory, within the short canteens can be directed towards (1) Educa-
time of the lunch period. Even when tion, (2) Provision and (3) Economy.
good combinations are available in some
of the canteens, a large percentage of the
workers are found to choose luncheon of the National Research Council in America
combinations that are poorly balanced. can be profitably adopted in our country
This undesired ration is partly due to the with certain modifications to suit our
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 215
requirements. The gist of the recommenda-
Helping the employees in grow-
tions can be listed thus :—
ing vegetable gardens in their
homes and on company-owned
Employment of a trained
properties is another avenue
dietician for supervision in
of approach. Their efforts may
the factory canteen and advice
be encouraged and aided by
to the worker's family.
contests, classes in gardening
Introduction of information
and by collective purchase of
about nutrition in plant
tools and seeds. The State
department of Agriculture
should tender advice and
(c) Use of pay-envelope slips, list-
all possible assistance to the
ing items of good food of high
nutritional value, which are
in season or in the market,
(2) Provision.—Industry should take a
available at reasonable prices keen interest in the type of food served
and within the reach of the in the plant at mid-day lunches and any
supplementary feedings furnished in
Placing artistically written
between meals. The meals served in the
posters emphasising the im-
plant should at least contribute one-third
portance of good nutrition or of the specific nutrients. Vegetables and
capable of creating an interest salads should be prepared in an attractive
in good food habits at strategic manner and with minimum losses in their
sites about the plant, where vitamin and mineral contents. Enriched
employees usually pass or wait white bread and whole grain products
in line. (It may be noted that can be extensively used. Special lunches
materials capable of evoking emphasising the use of alternative foods
a personal interest and
(e.g. bajri, jawar, maize etc.) can be offered
periodical changes in the at slightly lower than the prevailing prices
slogans or cartoons may be to increase their acceptability. A wide
variety of the so called "protective
foods " such as milk, fruits and vegetables
(e) Free distribution of pamphlets should be made available to all the labourers
and bulletins on Health and throughout the factory, through travelling
Nutrition matters to the wagons, at or below cost to encourage
their consumption in preference to non-
Conducting classes and de-
monstrations by the dietician
The aesthetics of food also is a point
and other nutritional experts worthy of consideration in this connection.
for the worker and his wife.
In combining the menu, the observance of
(g) Maintenance of cafeterias, the psychological factors which influence
where foods of high nutritional the appetite and making the diner satisfied
values are served attractively so with the appearance and flavour of the
as to make the labourers appre-
food served, are important matters. A
ciate their gustatory possibilities
little stretch of imagination on the part
and nutritional worth.
of the dietician can easily accomplish
216 P. A. BHASKARAN.
this. Menus with a limited number of
or red food to contrast with
choice which are varied from day to day
white or neutral colour combi-
are found usually more desirable by workers
than a frequent repetition of dishes and
a " s a m e n e s s " produced when a large
(g) Seasoning bland food with
number of food choices are used daily.
piquant flavouring by the use
Frequent changes of menu have an element
of articles such as tomatoes,
of surprise which adds interest to the
food selection. Some broad suggestions
(h) Seeing that the vegetables on
in obtaining satisfactory combinations may
the menu are cooked just until
be noted down below, which can be
done and served immediately
adopted with slight adaptations as warranted
to preserve their colour, flavour
by local requirements and tastes.
and vitamin contents.
(a) Planning wholesome nutritious
meals that appeal to the eye,
Success of such a food combination
stimulate the appetite, satisfy policy requires a mental selection of foods
the hunger and give pleasure that taste and look well and the using
to the diner.
of imagination how food will look when
served, and taste when eaten. Such fore-
Seeing that good menu planning thought on the part of the dietician will
goes hand in hand with good save many on unpalatable meal from
cooking to produce foods which
being cooked and served only to be wasted
are appetising and in which largely.
food nutrients are con-
The length of mid-shift meal periods
is another problem to be considered.
(c) Balancing the flavours of the A minimum period of 30 minutes should
menu—e.g. accompanying a be provided by the factory ; 15 minutes
bland food with a savoury for the actual consumption of food,
one ; serving strong-flavoured and the other 15 as an additional allowance
food with a mild-flavoured one; for toilet preparations, changing clothes,
enhancing the flavour of a going to and from the cafeteria, luncheon
neutral food with an acid one, room or canteen and the time spent in food
service line. In large plants the overall
Contrasting soft foods with length of the mid-shift meal period can
crisp, crunchy ones. At least be kept to a minimum by a decentralisa-
one food in the menu should tion of eating facilities through the use of
mobile kitchens and canteens, stationery
canteens, strategically situated lunch-
(e) Varying the shapes of food rooms, etc. Where distances from the
served in the plate as e.g. work-room to the canteen are too great,
avoiding several round mounds hot meals must be brought by means of
of foods or two or more pre-heated food conveyors and served
squares in one plate.
to workers in areas set aside near their
(f) Combining colours harmoni-
work-centres. These food conveyors should
ously—e.g. using yellow, green run on a definite time-schedule to permit
NUTRITION AND INDUSTRIAL CANTEENS 217
the optimum usage of a lunch period prices for a successful nutritional pro-
at each station.
gramme. To achieve this, all cafetarias,
kitchens, lunch-stands, etc., should be under
"Between-meal" rest periods and plant management and should be run
refreshments is another matter meriting on a non-profit non-loss basis. A canteen
attention. A rest pause of 10 minutes each, should not be a means of obtaining funds
with an opportunity to obtain refreshments for employee functions or benefits or
during the middle of the first and second any other extraneous purpose. It has been
half of each shift, is an effective means of found that cafetarias, rolling kitchens or
combating fatigue, decreasing accidents lunch-stands operated by concessionaires
and lost time and sustaining promotion. —whether it be a private company or an
The foods offered during the rest periods employee's benefit association—were
must be such as would permit a ready generally less satisfactory than the manage-
service and digestion, with a minimum ment-owned ones. The reason perhaps
amount of preliminary preparation on for this is their policy of " w e give the
. the part of the worker. Milk, citrus fruit men what they want."
juices, tomato juice, fruits and sandwiches
with enriched or whole-grain bread with
substantial fillings are satisfactory foods
A well-trained dietician managing the
for between-meal lunches. It is important canteen can keep down the cost by intelli-
to be borne in mind that coffee and tea, gent marketing. Having the knowledge of
although stimulating for a short time, when and where to buy as well as under-
have negligible food value in them, even standing the quality and nutritive value
when taken in with cream and sugar.
of foods is a phase in a dietician's profes-
sional training and is of particular value
Women workers in industry, by virtue in low cost feeding.
of their biological and psychological make-
up, deserve special consideration. Curiously
The employer also can help a great
enough, several dietary surveys of industrial
deal in bringing down the cost of main-
workers are all in agreement as regards taining a canteen. In plant-owned and
their findings that the eating habits of employee-managed lunch-rooms or
- women are worse than those of men. canteens, the management usually provide
Plants employing large numbers of women space and basic equipment and can also
should be particularly careful to
make subsidize those services such as heat-
adequate provision for their nutritional light and water. Even otherwise, effective
requirements. An active nutrition educa-
management and a large turn-over will
tion programme also should be instituted make the canteen "pay its w a y " to meet
in their favour. The employment of women
all the overhead charges from the takings.
workers in night shifts is
not yet a problem It is best that an employee elected
in India. In the west, women with domestic committee assumes responsibility for the"
duties as well as young girls are employed operation of the food service employing
in night-shifts too ; and in the former its own commissary manager.
it results in the break-up of the family
—Canteen work should
ties, whereas in the latter the loss of sleep be recognised to be a very "tough"
affects their growth.
one. It calls forth immense energy, staying
—It is imperative that power and continuous good-temper.
good meals must be provided at reasonable
Cooking is a job that has to be learned
218 P. A. BHASKARAN
and practised as any other skilled technical self-respect in the worker's mind by tactful
job in the process of industry.
handling. The practice of putting up
notices regarding canteen matters can be
An inspiring and instructive Health cited as an instance in point. It should
Education Programme should be under-
be free from all tinges of authority and
taken for the promotion of better nutri-
command. Terms like '' workers must "
tion in collaboration with a number of should be judiciously avoided and must
national agencies, both public and private. be substituted by pleasant polite wordings
Last but not the least, is the general like "customers are requested" etc. In
atmosphere prevailing in the canteen and short, the canteen should be run on a
its psychological reactions on the worker. thoroughly democratic basis giving the
It must be remembered that the workers employees a free hand in the manage-
enter the canteen not as servants but ment of its affairs. Democratically elected
as their own masters, as customers and committees and their periodical meetings
not as employees. The discipline enforced with a view to eliciting suggestions of
on them should be voluntary and of a improvement from members can go a
purely social nature and should not be good way towards success. The only
extraneous and coercive. Intelligent and thing to be borne in mind is that complaints
sympathetic management can create a and criticisms should be followed by
sense of belonging to the factory and of constructive suggestions.