USDA pumps funds into food aid R&D

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

A food aid program from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded just under $4m for the development and testing of nutritionally rich or fortified foods designed to deliver essential nutrients to undernourished populations.

The funds come as part of humanitarian assistance projects set up by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under its Food Aid Nutrition Enhancement Program (FANEP).

As part of its focus, FANEP supports the development and testing of new ready-to-use foods, fortified blended foods, high-energy foods, micronutrient powders or other food products designed to improve the nutritional delivery and functional form of humanitarian food assistance.

Projects funded by FANEP may also field test existing food products that have not yet been approved for use in food aid programs, explained NIFA.

$3.8m project funds

FANEP’s 2010 awards were made to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and international global health non-profit group PATH for the development of healthier food products.

JHU received $2,729,000 to introduce and test three specially formulated foods for children ages 6-24 months in Bangladesh, where childhood under-nutrition is especially prevalent, said NIFA.

PATH received $1m to field test their Ultra Rice technology in Burundi. Ultra Rice is said to be a “proven, cost-effective and culturally appropriate rice fortification technology”​ that can bridge micronutrient deficiencies and prevent malnutrition in rice-consuming communities.

“The United States is a major supplier of food aid, feeding millions of people around the world who are suffering during emergency situations,” ​said Roger Beachy, director of USDA’s National Institution of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“These projects will improve the nutritional quality of food aid products these people depend on for survival.”

For more information on the food aid programs, click here​.

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