Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh, patents! Plumpy’Nut° Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann 

Below appear a few figures from the World Food Program:
ð  Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria & tuberculosis combined.
ð  842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.
ð  The vast majority of hungry people (827 million) live in developing countries where 14,3 percent of the population is undernourished.
ð  Asia has the largest number of hungry people (over 500 million) but Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence (24.8 percent of the population.
ð  Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five, 3.1 million children each year.
ð  One out six children, roughly 100 million, in developing countries is underweight.
ð  One out of four of the world’s children are stunted, in developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
ð  80 percent of the world’s stunted children live in just 20 countries.
ð  66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone

Below a quote from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):
“Every day, 18,000 children under the age of five die from things we can prevent. They die of things most people in the US rarely worry about. Malnutrition. Unsafe drinking water. The lack of affordable vaccines. “ 


Within the above context of world hunger and in particular the plight of small children, the patent US2004052918 (originally filed as FR2815825, and almost concurrently as a rare OAPI – Organisation Africaine de la propriété Intellectuelle patent OA12530) titled High energy complete food or nutritional supplement, method for preparing same, arises as one small patented solution designed to offer high caloric nutrition to children, 6 months and older, suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), without the need for hospitalization.

Inspired by the delicious hazelnut and chocolate spread Nutella°, and in response to all the disadvantages of the prior art powered food solutions, requiring dilution with water, this invention marketed as Plumpy’Nut°, was designed by a pediatric nutritionist and a food manufacturer. 

 Indeed the prior art powered food solutions, requiring dilution with water, provided a perfect medium for breeding bacteria. Additionally, dilution with water required the use of soluble mineral salts which have a pronounced taste. These would sediment at the bottom of the mixture or float to the top if they were coated to prevent the more pronounced taste.  Powders also increased contact with ambient air, augmenting the risk of oxidization, particularly of the vitamins, and resulting in faster rancid powders when lipids were oxidized. And finally, powdered products are voluminous causing both storage and transportation difficulties.

This patented complete food product, termed RUFTReady to use therapeutic food, is now endorsed by such organizations as the World Health Organization, The World Food Program and the UNICEF as a standard for the treatment of children suffering from SAM. It has greatly increased the radius of action against malnutrition as treatment no longer requires hospitalization.

Following the success of this therapeutic treatment, the company, based in Normandy, in France, developed a whole line of additional RUFT products, including Plumpy’Mum° (for pregnant and lactating mothers) and Plumpy’Sup™   (for children suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition - MAM) , RUSF (Ready to use supplemental food) products such as Plumpy’Soy™  and Plumpy’Doz°, prevention and severe acute diarrhea products.  

The company sells to UN agencies, International NGOs and the Red Cross, Foundations, Trading Groups and other associations and research centers. Under fire because of the monopole of its patented technology, the company has developed a network of local manufacturing sites, providing only the added vitamins and mineral nutrients to the local nut manufacturing productions, connected to local nut growing areas.

Below appears the Abstract for US2004052918, and some images of the Plumpy’Nut° marketed product.  

Abstract US2004052918

A complete food or nutritional supplement consumable without addition of water and rich in lipids has not more than 2%-10% water by weight and has an osmolality of less than 100 mOsm/kg after immersion in a volume of water four times greater than its own weight. The supplement has a mixture of food grade products in powdered, granular or particulate form and has at least one powdered dairy product. It may also optionally have at least one product providing digestible carbohydrates and a vitamin and mineral salt supplement. The mixture is coated with at least one substance rich in vegetable fat including an emulsifier. It may also optionally have an antioxidant. The mixture does not include the protein, indigestible carbohydrate, and mineral of oleaginous seeds.

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