Open Access Nutritional enhancement of US Title II food aid products

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Background. Food aid provided by the United States has saved the lives of the vulnerable for many years. Recognizing the need for a thorough review of product formulations and specifications, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) commissioned a 2-year assessment of quality issues relating to Title II food aid products. This article presents findings and recommendations of that review relating to product enhancements.

Objective. The core question addressed was: Are current commodity specifications for enriched FBFs appropriate in light of evolving nutritional science and food fortification technology, or do they need to be updated?

Methods. Empirical data were derived from a number of sources, including a survey of Title II implementing partners focusing on procurement and logistics, and uses of FBFs and other foods. Input of implementing partners, civil society, and donor organizations was obtained through individual consultations, international and small group meetings. More than 400 individuals accessed the project's website. The project convened a panel of experts in food technology and science, food policy, law, industry, medicine, development and humanitarian work, and the maritime industry, and held regular joint meetings with USDA and USAID. The draft report was widely disseminated and posted on the website.

Results and conclusions. The findings of this research led to the following broad areas of improvement in US Title II food aid products: 1) Improve the formulation of existing FBF products used in Title II programming. This includes the addition of a dairy source of protein to products targeted to children 6 to 24 months of age, pregnant and lactating women, wasted children, and wasted individuals undergoing HIV/AIDS treatment. 2) Upgrade the vitamin and mineral mixes used and diversify approaches to addressing micronutrient needs. Enhance the composition of premixes used to fortify blended foods as well as milled grains and vegetable oil; facilitate shipping of fortificant premix with bulk cereals for in-country fortification; and develop micronutrient powders (sachets) and other point-of-use fortification options. 3) Develop or adopt non-cereal-based (e.g., lipid-based) products for the management of nutritional deficiencies. This is an argument for more choice among appropriate tools, not for discarding products that have already shown their value over many years. It also does not reduce the need to maintain a focus on supplying high volumes of quality grains as the main staple in food aid baskets.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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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