The Peanut Butter for the Hungry Initiative started in 2008, by a group of peanut growers, shellers, manufacturers and industry members to help malnourished children in places where resources are limited.
In 1999, a scientist named Dr. Andre Briend with the World Health Organization developed a product that combined powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, vitamins and minerals and peanut butter into a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). This RUTF is based on the tried and true formula F-100 milk, which has been used for generations to treat malnutrition in third world countries. By replacing the liquid milk with protein-rich peanut butter and powdered milk, the new F-100 milk formula becomes shelf-stable and transportable, allowing aid workers to treat malnourished children in a completely new way. Instead of checking into hospitals, children are fed at home by their mothers, using the ready-to-use food product. No water is needed, so the food stays bacteria-free and does not need to be refrigerated.
The peanut industry has committed financial and intellectual resources to the development of this product as a humanitarian endeavour. The U.S. peanut industry commitment includes, but is not limited to:
- • Providing local infrastructure and building capacity in the “hungry” region by encouraging the development of local production facilities in countries where the product is being used
- • Providing technical support for local manufacturers in such areas as food safety, manufacturing processing, etc.
- • Providing assistance to farmers in needy regions who are growing peanuts
- • As a short term solution, providing U.S. grown peanut butter as an ingredient in local production
- • Encouraging production of RUTF in the U.S. to help in the case of emergencies and natural disasters
- • Communicating the efficacy and success of peanut-based therapeutic foods to aid groups and government agencies
- • Peanuts provide a lot of energy in a small amount, which is important to the malnourished who can only consume small amounts at one time. Providing enough calories is critical so that protein can be spared for growth and repair.
- •Peanuts are about 50 per cent fat, which at nine calories per gram, contribute more calories than traditional foods used in humanitarian relief such as milk, corn, soybean, wheat, and other grains.
To learn more about the Peanut Butter for the Hungry Initiative, visit www.peanutbutterforthehungry.org.
Source: Peanut Butter for the Hungry