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article imageRich nations sending 'substandard' food to poor countries

By Subir Ghosh     Oct 15, 2010 in World
Rich nations such as the United States of offloading food it would not feed its own children to poorer countries as food aid, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has said.
"Foods we would never give our own children are being sent overseas as food aid to the most vulnerable children in malnutrition hotspots in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia," MSF's international president Unni Karunakara said in a statement. "This double standard must stop."
MSF said food aid largely does not include essential ingredients for early childhood development like high-quality protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Instead, big donors of food aid like the US, Canada, Japan and the European Union send fortified blended flours such as corn- and soy-blend (CSB) cereals.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CSB cereals do not meet international standards for the nutritional needs of those below the age of two. CSB is inappropriate for treating malnourished children.
According to 'The State of Food Insecurity in the World' report (PDF) of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, a total of 925 million people are undernourished. About 195 million children across the world suffered from malnutrition.
MSF nutrition advisor, Susan Shepherd, said, "Despite an international consensus on the most appropriate nutritional composition of foods for malnourished children, donor countries continue to subsidise and supply a one-size fits all product that we know fails to meet this standard and to decrease the risk of death due to malnutrition."
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