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Simulation model to estimate micronutrient levels in fortified blended foods

Summary of published research1

Dehulled rice, lentils and soya beans

Current micronutrient levels in Public Law 4802 fortified blended foods (FBF) may not be appropriate for all food aid beneficiaries, particularly infants and/or young children and pregnant and/or lactating women. FBFs were specifically developed for pre-school aged children and designed on the premise that beneficiaries' diets were sufficient in energy but inadequate in protein, vitamins and essential minerals. Thus, the FBF was developed to supply one-third of the energy but two-thirds of the 1968 U.S Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for protein, vitamins and minerals for a 1-2 year old child. Similarly, the FBF provides one-sixth of the energy but one-half of the nutrient RDAs for a 6-8 year old child. Vitamin B12 was added at 100% of the RDA because of a perceived lack of animal products in the diet of the target group.

Currently, these products are consumed by individuals of all age groups, including infants and pre-school aged children, pregnant and lactating women, and people with HIV/AIDS. SUSTAIN3 implemented a Food Aid Quality Enhancement Project in 2004 to address unresolved issues on food aid quality identified in prior projects and to assess how food aid can better serve today's vulnerable recipients. A simulation model was developed as part of this project to determine the micronutrient fortification levels to include in FBF for food aid programmes. The aim was to reduce the risk of inadequate micronutrient intakes without exceeding the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for any recipient group.

For each micronutrient, the age and gender group with the highest daily Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) relative to energy requirement was identified and the effect of providing different percentages of the RNI (66%, 75% and 100%) was simulated. The researchers also examined consumption of the FBF at 25% (the usual level), 50% and 100% of daily energy requirements.

Results indicated that two FBF products are needed: a complementary food for age 6-36 months and a supplementary food for older groups. Both of the FBFs could be fortified to supply at least 75% of the RNI to all groups, without exceeding the UL for most nutrients, if consumed at 25% of the energy requirement. Even if consumed at 50% of energy requirements, mean intakes of most micronutrients would not exceed the UL At 100% of the energy requirements. However, several micronutrients were undesirably high.

The authors concluded that fortifying a FBF to provide 75% of the RNI would be appropriate for most micronutrients. This level of fortification would not be appropriate for long-term consumption of the FBF at 100% of energy requirements.

Show footnotes

1Fleige. L, Sayhoun. N and Murphy. S (2010). A new simulation model estimates micronutrient levels to include in fortified blended foods used in food aid programmes. Journal of Nutrition. Published online December 9th 2009; doi:10.3945/jn.109.106146

2Public Law 480 or P.L. 480 (also known as the Food for Peace Act (FPA)) has three titles. Each title has a specific objective and provides assistance to countries at a particular level of economic development. Title I is administered by US Department of Agriculture, and Titles II and III are administered by USAID.


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Simulation model to estimate micronutrient levels in fortified blended foods. Field Exchange 39, September 2010. p17.



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