Child eating ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF)

Saving lives with RUTF (ready-to-use therapeutic food) [UNICEF Article]

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UNICEF has been procuring almost 80 per cent of the world’s RUTF, a life-saving essential supply that treats severe wasting in children under 5 years old.

RUTF is the abbreviation for “ready-to-use therapeutic food”, a life-saving essential supply item that treats severe wasting in children under 5 years old. Wasting is defined as low weight-for-height and happens when someone has not had enough food or food of adequate quality. If not appropriately treated, wasting in children is associated with a higher risk of death.

RUTF paste was invented by a French research scientist, André Briend, 25 years ago and became commercially available in the early 2000s. It is made from powdered milk, peanuts, butter, vegetable oil, sugar, and a mix of vitamins and minerals. One RUTF sachet combines 500 calories and micronutrients that have:

  • High nutritional value allowing malnourished children to gain weight quickly.
  • Two-year shelf life, making it convenient to pre-position in a warehouse.
  • Appealing taste and easy digestibility.
  • No need for preparation – children eat it directly from the packet.

Read the full article about RUTF’s, originally posted on UNICEF.ORG on February 16, 2022.

Photo credit from original article ©UNICEF/UN0372533/Ryeng

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