USDA Commodity Requirements for Milled Rice & Fortified Milled Rice
Over the last decade U.S. food assistance agencies - USDA and USAID - have sought to diversify the portfolio of value added nutritional foods made with U.S. origin commodities for global food aid and nutritional programming. The goal was to provide more cost effective options and also develop a series of micronutrient-fortified foods to address not only hunger but also persistent nutritional deficiencies. Among the most persistent and health averse micronutrient deficiencies preventing greater progress in addressing stunting and overall child health and development are a lack of Vitamin A and iron.
In 2010 USDA, in collaboration with USAID, received additional funding through the McGovern Dole Food for Education Program to conduct a series of micronutrient fortification pilot programs. The first program to conclude with successful results was a school feeding intervention in Cambodia using fortified rice. The results, showing significant improvements in vitamin A and zinc uptake in Cambodian children, qualified fortified rice as an approved new commodity for food assistance programs. In 2014, fortified rice was added to USAID’s master list of commodities available for use in food aid/assistance programs. This is an exciting development for combatting malnutrition around the world and for increased engagement by the U.S. rice industry in U.S. government food assistance programs. USA Rice expects to see increasing quantities of rice going into these programs as the product comes online. To that end we will be working closely with the U.S. government and Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) to provide product information and ensure its availability. The World Food Program (WFP) is conducting a final nutritional study in Cambodia, analyzing the efficacy of different fortification technologies. They are studying acceptability and nutrient retention and absorption. Results are expected to be published at the end of 2015. Once this study is complete we expect to see large-scale use of fortified rice in U.S. government programs through both USDA and USAID.
Fortified rice is among the most effective delivery mechanisms and is most cost effective for bioavailable micronutrients that can be utilized in food assistance and nutritional programming to address ongoing nutritional deficiencies that impact the overall socio-economic well-being of our future trade partners. USA Rice is working closely with USDA, USAID, WFP and the PVO community to lead to the successful and effective use of fortified rice.
We will be planning regular information sessions on fortified rice in the near future as well as various informational pieces on the technical aspects and health benefits of the product. Check this space often for regular updates and the latest information.