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Open Access Local production and provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) spread for the treatment of severe childhood malnutrition

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Background. Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) spread has been shown to be very effective in the rehabilitation of severely malnourished children and facilitates home-based therapy of these children.

Objective. To describe how RUTF spread can be manufactured on a variety of production scales.

Principles of production. RUTF spread is an edible lipid-based paste that is energy dense, resists bacterial contamination, and requires no cooking. The primary production principles include grinding all ingredients to a particle size < 200 microns, producing the food without the introduction of water, and embedding the protein and carbohydrate components of the food into the lipid matrix. The most widely used RUTF spread is a mixture of milk powder, sugar, vegetable oil, peanut butter, vitamins, and minerals.

Scale of production. RUTF spread can be produced in quantities sufficient to treat several hundred children using a planetary mixer in a clinic. Production of larger quantities of RUTF spread can be achieved in partnership with local food companies. Production sufficient to meet the needs of several thousand children can be achieved with a dedicated production facility using technology appropriate for use in the developing world. Care must be taken to avoid aflatoxin contamination, and quality control testing of the product is essential.

Conclusions. RUTF spread can be safely and easily produced in small or large quantities in most settings worldwide. The local availability of the necessary ingredients limits its use in some settings, and further investigation of alternative ingredients is needed to overcome this limitation.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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