Indexed on: 24 Mar '16Published on: 24 Mar '16Published in: Food and nutrition bulletin
The United States has a long history of food assistance for humanitarian need. The Food for Peace Act of 1954 established the United States' permanent food assistance program which has fed over 3 billion people in 150 countries worldwide through thousands of partner organizations. In 60 years, the program has evolved and will continue to do so. Recently, the program has gone from a focus on quantity of food shipped to quality food assistance from improved products, programs, and processes to effectively meet the needs of different vulnerable groups. The current debate focuses on the appropriateness of using fortified blended foods to prevent and treat malnutrition during the first 1000 days of life. Dairy ingredients have been at the center of this debate; they were included initially in fortified blended, removed in the 1980s, and now reincorporated into fortified therapeutic and supplemental foods. Improved quality food baskets and effective nutrition programming to prevent and treat malnutrition were developed through multisectoral collaboration between government and nongovernment organizations. The US Agency for International Development has focused on improving nutrition through development programs often tied to health, education, and agriculture. The years since 2008 have been a particularly intense period for improvement. The Food Aid Quality Review was established to update current food aid programming products, program implementation, cost-effectiveness, and interagency processes. Trials are underway to harmonize the areas of multisectoral nutrition programming and gather more evidence on the effects of dairy ingredients in food aid products.