Nutrient Quality of Food Aid - A Scientific Review


Demonstration kitchen at a clinic in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where mothers are shown how to combine food aid products with local ingredients to help treat child undernutrition. Source: Patrick Webb 2008

The United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Food for Peace program has awarded grant of approximately US $1.5 million to Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy to examine the nutritional needs of beneficiary populations across the developing world, and the nutrition quality of commodities currently available to meet those needs.  USAID, through funding provided by Public Law 480 (Title II), makes commodity donations to address the needs of undernourished and food insecure families through five-year development projects and in the context of emergency food assistance programs.  Populations of concern include orphans and vulnerable children, undernourished pregnant and lactating women, students in grades K-8, food insecure adolescents and adults, and persons living with HIV/AIDS. 

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the quality of food aid operations, USAID has tasked the Friedman School to review the state of science as it relates to the nutritional needs of these groups of vulnerable people, while considering current vitamin and mineral enrichment and fortification technologies and methods for the delivery of micronutrients in the form of supplements or powders.  The Principal Investor (PI) for this activity is Prof. Patrick Webb, Dean for Academic Affairs at the Friedman School with Prof. Beatrice Rogers acting as co-PI. They will promote an active consultative process that involves policymakers, industry experts, scientists and operational professionals.

During the coming two years, the goal is to produce recommendations on how to cost-effectively meet the nutritional needs of Title II beneficiary populations with US food aid commodities.  The work, engaging half a dozen Tufts faculty with appropriate expertise as well as a dozen collaborators globally, will entail production of several technical briefing papers involving multiple authors based around the world, on the following topics:

  • Review of past recommendations and their implementation to date,
  • Enrichment and fortification in USAID activities and in Title II Commodities,
  • Recommendations to improve Title II enrichment and fortification formulations,
  • Food aid and nutritional support for people living with HIV.

A final report will include an expanded executive summary of the findings and recommendations of all four working papers, and recommendations for next steps and implementation of these recommendations. The report will also include description of a process for periodic and ongoing review of the nutritional quality of P.L. 480 Title II food aid commodities.

Read the final report here (pdf).

Read  "Delivering Improved Nutrition: Recommendations for Changes to U.S. Food Aid Products and Programs" (pdf)