BIBCOL, a PSU under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI) has developed a food formulation for severely malnourished children.
The Ready to Use Food (RUTF) supplement with brand name BIB POSHAN, was developed with financial support from DBT. Severe Acute Malnutrition without complications is defined as (i) Weight for height < -3 SD of World Health Organization (WHO) growth reference, and (ii) No loss of appetite, and (iii) No danger sign of illness requiring hospitalization, and (iv) No chronic medical disorders. The National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) datasets show an increasing trend in the prevalence of wasting especially severe wasting in children below 5 years.
RUTF is equivalent to the F-100 formula (milk-based) used at hospitals across India but is instead made in a paste that can be safely given to a child to take home. It is not a supplementary food or a method to prevent malnutrition, but is a treatment for a fixed amount of time to get a child back on a normal growth pattern and prevent death.
The product is made from 100% local ingredients such as Soybean oil, Sugar, Milk powder and Peanuts and is caloric dense (550Kcal/100gm), high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is in the form of a paste. It is simple to deliver and administer, easy to use, fast acting, affordable and acceptable cost, does not require trained staff to administer (parents can deliver it to a child), culturally acceptable, packed in single-serve packets (each packet contains fixed amount of calories, i.e., 500 calories), requires little preparation before use, has adequate shelf life (2 years) and stability, can be stored in varied climatic conditions and temperature, is resistant to bacterial contamination, and does not cause addiction to child.
A Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant production facility for manufacture of RUTF for rehabilitation of SAM children has been set up in BIBCOL. This facility has been designed keeping in mind the requirement of GMP guidelines specific to food products. It has about 200sqm (2130sq.ft) of dedicated area, having separate entry for men and women. The RUTF manufacturing facility at BIBCOL is designed to produce around 6,000 Kg of RUTF per month.
This will be packed in 92 gm sachets. On an annual basis, this plant will produce 72,000 Kg of RUTF in 700,000 to 800,000 sachets. This may be sufficient to treat around 50000 children. Once the product stabilizes in the market and demand increases, the capacity can be increased to three-fold without much investment and time.
The technical support for the efforts was provided by Compatible Technology International (CTI) USA and SAM India Trust India. The product is licensed and registered under Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).