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Monday, May 13, 2013

Power of Peanuts: RUTF Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food Paste Treating Malnutrition

Lack of access to highly nutritious foods, and rising food prices, is a common cause of malnutrition. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods or RUTF was first introduced in situations of humanitarian emergencies during the early 2000’s.


Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death in an estimated 34 percent of all children worldwide. RUTF is a high energy; lipid based nutrient supplement paste used for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

RUTF Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food Paste Treating Malnutrition by Julien HarneisRUTF provides energy, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to treat severe acute malnutrition in children six months to under 5 years of age. RUTF has around 550 kilo-calories per 100 grams of product. RUTF is basically peanut butter mixed with dried skim milk, vitamins and minerals and can be stored for three to four months without refrigeration, even at tropical environments. RUTF can have a shelf life of two years when stored at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

UNICEF is the primary global purchaser of RUTF. RUTF has transformed the treatment of severe malnutrition providing foods that are safe to use at home and ensure rapid weight gain in severely malnourished children. The peanut butter mixture can be consumed directly by the child and provides sufficient nutrient intake for complete recovery from severe malnutrition. RUTF is not a cure-all and is used as a supplement, not a meal replacement. Local production of RUTF paste is taking place in several countries of Africa, including Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

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