Saving More Lives with Oats

We’re very excited to share news of the latest research on how we can save the lives of more children with a simple recipe change. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is the gold standard for treating severe acute malnutrition across the globe. It is a peanut-based nutrient rich paste that can be administered at home to bring children back from the brink of starvation. Recent clinical trials with our partner Project Peanut Butter have revealed that adding oats makes the treatment even more effective.

The international standard for RUTF uses a binding additive derived from hydrogenated vegetable oil. This additive prevents the oil from separating and improves the consistency of RUTF. However, research has shown that it also can damage the gut lining of the children (see graphic below). The damage is inconsequential for a healthy child, but for a malnourished child it can result in breeches that allow bacteria to leak into the body and cause infection.

In the picture above the red dots are bacteria, the green is mucous and purple is gut tissue. ‘CMC ‘is RUTF with hydrogenated oil additive. ‘Water’ is a picture of  normal gut health. In RUTF with the additive, the red bacteria dots actually enter and cause damage to the gut tissue.

The good news is, by substituting oats in place of hydrogenated vegetable oil, the recovery rate increased by 8% and death decreased by 2%. The oat powder binds with the healthy oil from the peanuts to maintain the right consistency and it’s an even healthier and more nutrient-dense product.

And there’s more good news! Although oat powder isn’t locally produced in the quantities needed, General Mills has generously agreed to donate the surplus oats they purchase for their cereals to be used for RUTF produced in the factory in Malawi.

We need your support to get 75,000lbs of oat powder from General Mills to Malawi to serve 10,500 severely malnourished children.

It costs just $3 per child 

3 shipping containers (25,000lbs oat flour each) x  $10,771 (cost of shipping each container) 

$32,313 (total cost) – $15,500 (already raised) $16,813 GOAL

Will you help us save more lives?


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