Assessment of scurvy in emergency settings Zita 02.05.97
Viamine A info request Alizon Draper 07.08.98
feta cheese Michael H.N. Golden 18.08.97
Food Fortification in Brazil Sian Fitzgerald 26.08.97
Beans and soda bicarbonate Helen Young 15.09.97
Causality models of malnutrition Florence Egal 19.09.97
use of tinned meat for food/emergency aid Fiona O'Reilly 23.10.97
EU meat surplus Fiona O'Reilly 24.10.97
Very low cost technologies at field Dominique Bounie 24.10.97
hydrolised casein André Briend 19.11.97
Milk for infants/PEM Ann Burgess 19.12.97

Fri, 2 May 1997 10:48:30

from dns.who.ch (dns.who.ch [])

Subject: Assessment of scurvy in emergency settings


I would be interested to know if anyone has more information on the following simpliflied 'field-friendly' (bedside) testing methods for vitamin C deficiency (or any other methods): (main source: Marks, J. A guide to the vitamins. Their role in health and disease. MTP. 1975)

- A dipstick test for estimation of vitamin C levels in the urine. Urine passed 4-6 hours after a 300 mg dose of ascorbic acid is collected and vitamin C levels are indicated by a characteristic colour change with 2,4-dinitrophenyl hydrazine.

- An intradermal dye test which depends on the power of the vitamin C of the skin to decolourize the blue, 2,6-dichlorophenolindophenol. A modification of this test involves the estimation of the rate of loss of colour when a drop of reagent is placed on the tongue. However, this test on its own is not considered specific enough.

I would also like to know about any 'field-friendly' methods (besides clinical methods) to detect/verify pellagra and beriberi in emergency settings.



Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 16:25:50 +0000

From: Alizon Draper <alizon.draperatlshtm.ac.uk>



I am helping to compile an inventory of who is doing what and where in relation to vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. We are interested in both research and intervention activities being carried by academic, governmental and non-governmental agencies. If you are involved in such a project or know of anyone who is, I would be very grateful if you could let me know.

With thanks,


Alizon Draper

Human Nutrition Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

London WC1H OBT, Tel: 0171 927 2137

Mon Aug 18 17:47 BST 1997

Subject: feta cheese

From: "Michael H.N. Golden" <m.goldenatabdn.ac.uk>


A member has asked me to post this (editied) question anonymously to avoid any possible embarrisment to potential agencies/donors.

>There has been an offer, in principle, from a company, to a government, of about 6000 metric tons of feta Cheese specifically for North Korea. Those involved (the agency, and government advisors) are reluctant to accept because the North Koreans do not normally eat feta cheese, and they do not know if there is anyone who can appropriately distribute it. Their main concern is that too large doses might be given to infants and small children.

On the other hand if there is a organisation who has a feeding programme with plenty of rice available a slice of feta cheese would be a nutritionally sound supplement.

Would anyone with experience from North Korea, or those agencies that have programs in North Korea, please indicate whether it would useful to have a large cargo of feta cheese.





The message itself raises issues of the appropriatemess of some commodities sent in AID - we have all seen great and appropriate generosity as well as problems (to use a non nutritional examples, I remember a shipment of brassiers from an Asian donor to Africa where even the teenagers in Africa had problems with the cup size: on the other hand a critical donation after the Hurricane in Jamaica was of hives of bees to pollinate the next crop - which would not normally be thought about or added to a "needs list"!) - List-members might wish to comment generally on 1) the benefits of adding feta to a diet that is, and is likely to remain, poor; 2) the problems with a very large consignment of feta cheese; and, 3) the need for agreed procedures on how to judge whether a particular commodity is or is not appropriate - a series of case studies of inappropriate aid might be difficult, because of the embarrassment entailed in detailing ones mistakes - but it is from our mistakes (and successes) that we and others can learn how not to repeat them!

Best wishes,


Prof. Michael H.N.Golden

Tue, 26 Aug 1997 18:03:27 -0700

From: Sian Fitzgerald <pathatsynapse.net>

Subject: Food Fortification in Brazil


PATH Canada would like to make contact with NGOs and other organizations involved in fortification of foods in Brazil. We are also looking for up-to-date information on which groups are involved (NGOs, research institutions, etc) in food fortification? Which foods are being fortified with vitamin A, iron, iodine, or other nutrients? Is there legislation in place for the fortification of any particular foods with specific nutrients? Are there experiences of double or triple fortification of any foods?


Many thanks

From: Helen Young <hyoungatoxfam.org.uk>

Subject: Beans and soda bicarbonate

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 97 09:36:00 G


In Kasulu, Tanzania, refugees are receiving beans in their ration which are very old stock. They are apparantly fit for human consumption but take a long time to cook. Some women add soda bicarbonate to speed up cooking (no details yet as to how much faster the cooking times are, but we will find out).

We all know the damaging effects of soda bicarb on vitamins in fresh vegetables, but what about ancient beans? Any comments on the advantages of reduced cooking times over the disadvantage of reduced nutritional value?


Helen Young, Oxfam

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 12:55:00 +0002

From: "Egal, Florence (ESNP)" <Florence.Egalatfao.org>

Subject: Causality models of malnutrition


Hello everybody,

In relation with the preparation of the Guidelines for the incorporation of household food security and nutrition into emergency relief and rehabilitation (see Veronica Tuffrey's previous e-mail on this topic), we were wondering if any of you would have examples of causality models developed in emergency or rehabilitation situations.

Thanks for your help and have a nice day.


Florence Egal

(Nutrition Programmes),Food and Nutrition Division, FAO

via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome Italy

tel (+39) 6 570.53126, fax (+39) 6 570.54593

email florence.egalatfao.org

Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 13:22:15 +0100 (BST)

From: foreillyattcd.ie (Fiona O'Reilly)


An agency currently funding relief assistance in the DPRK has asked me to voice this query on their behalf.

Apparently the idea of using EU meat surplus (tinned beef) as food aid for the DPRK has been taken up and supported by the Press and some agencies.

The agency who contacted me feel that a better strategy is to fund the procurement and distribution of cereals within the region.

The agency would like information or opinions on the appropriateness of each strategy with particular reference to nutritional suitability of either commodity to the population in question, logistic considerations and also which strategy is likely to be more cost effective.

I understand that it may not be possible to comment usefully, without more specific information. However I am passing on the request for information/ opinion, in the hope that someone on the list may be familiar enough with this issue so as to comment usefully.


Fiona O'Reilly

Emergency Nutrition Network, Department of Community Health & General Practice

199 Pearse Street, Trinity College

Dublin 2, Ireland

Tel: 353 1 608 2676 Fax 353 1 670 5384 email: foreillyattcd.ie

Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 12:05:27 GMT

From: foreillyattcd.ie (Fiona O'Reilly)

Subject: EU meat surplus


For those interested, below is a response to my email (23/10/97) on the possible use of tinned meat for food/emergency aid.


>Dear Mrs.Fiona O'Reilly.

Having read your question concerning tinned meat, I would like to give my comments as far as the background of this subject is concerned.

First of all I can tell that I work for the Danish Meat Council in Brussels also representing the Danish processing industry. The discussion concerning the possible use of tinned meat for food/emergency aid, started already last year with the European Commission when intervention stocks again started to grow. Because of GATT/WTO-quantitative restrictions, these products can not be exported normally, with subsidies, since the current market situation for beef is very weak, and all quantities allowed with subsidies for export is currently used. Looking at the possibilities of disposal of this surplus meat, one solution could be food aid, since disposal in the form of food aid is not restricted by the GATT/WTO-agreement. It seems clear that normal beneficiary developing countries do not have the facilities to handle beef in frozen form and therefore only meat supplied in cans can be distributed in a proper way. Since the current intervention system is very expensive, because of cost i.e. related to cold storage, the beef could be tinned for the same price as it costs to have on stocks in frozen form.

Therefore a cost comparison should not be made between basic foodstuff and commercial tinned meat, since the meat could be made available free of charge in Europe.

Looking at your question I think it is important to know that it has never been any ones intention to supply only tinned meat for DPRK, but only to distribute it as a supplement to already existing supplies of basic foodstuff, and any nutritional comparison should be made on this background.

I would not even try to argue against the fact that protein from i.e. rice and wheat flour are cheaper than animal protein, but in this specific matter we are talking about surplus meat.

However I believe - not being a nutritional expert - that meat do have certain advantages. It is seen that besides lack of energy and protein there is many places a lack of iron, iodine and vitamin A. In special food aid programmes, such as food aid for refugees, the recipients are often totally or near-totally dependant on food rations provided, which often are of limited variety.

Such situations can cause further nutritional problems involving deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B1(thiamine), vitamin B2(riboflavine) and niacin.

Even though I represent the commercial world, I would be very interested in taking part in this coming discussion since I believe that we as industry can learn a lot from you and other NGO's experiance in order to develop new products for these puposes.

Looking forward to hear from you, I remain

Yours sincerely


Erik Kam

Phone: + 32 2 230 27 05, Fax: + 32 2 230 00 98

E-mail: ekatagridan.be>


Fiona O'Reilly

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 19:06:34 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Dominique.Bounieatuniv-lille1.fr (Bounie)

Subject: Very low cost technologies at field level


Dear NGONUTers,

This is to announce that, on next Nov. 13th, at 10.30 a.m., we will unveil - let's say "open" in a more humble mood ! - the pilote dedicated to very low cost extrusion that we developped in our University at Lille (France).

The objective of this pilot plant is to get a benchwork that we may use for training of operators and development of local utilisations (e.g. formulation of blended flours from local products). Among these applications, we aim at using this very low cost (expected to be less than 10.000 US$) and small scale technolgy (capacity is around 30 to 50 kg/h) at farm level - in western countries - or at "camp level" in emergency crisis.

We are already using this technology in development projects (Viet-Nam, Peru) where we are working in close collaboration with development NGOs (GRET - Groupement de Recherche et d'Echanges Technologiques) and research centers (ORSTOM). Complementary skills have been combined to control : - operation and improvment of the process (University of Lille) - nutritional optimisation of extruded foods owing to : predefinite nutritional objectives, local availability of food products, cost constraints (ORSTOM)

- project managment, with a scope of sustainable activity for local implementing partners (GRET).

We propose to adapt this equipment/approach to emergency's environment. Use of such a technology at camp level would allow : - direct transformation of available food disponibilities into nutritious pre-cooked products, owing to agencies or NGOs specifications and requirements ; precooking at "camp level" could also be a good alternative to energetic wastes due to "household" cooking ; - implementation of a sustainable activity that could benefit to local economy during and after emergency, through training of local operators, transfer of skills and initiation of small industry projects.

Such projects could induce practical opportunities to shift from emergency to rehabilitation/development. To do so, we propose a close collaboration between "emergency" and "development" partners.

If anyone is interested to get more details about the project or - wonderful ! - to join us on nov. 13th, please contact me at : dominique.bounieatuniv-lille1.fr

See you soon et a bientot !


Dominique Bounie

Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 16:53:46 +0100 (MET)

From: briendatext.jussieu.fr (Andre' BRIEND)

Subject: hydrolised casein


Dear Peter,

It was nice to meet you the other day, though briefly, in Birmingham.

I am puzzled by the results you hinted me about re : lower weight gain of children growing on hydrolised casein. Were the feeds just prepared with hydrolised casein as source of protein without added tryptophane, sulphur aa and aromatic aa ? I see most formulas prepared with hydrolised casein get supplemented in these aa which apparently are lacking.



Dr. André Briend

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 09:51:01 -0800

From: Ann Burgess <annburgessatsol.co.uk>

Subject: Milk for infants/PEM


Dear NGO Nuts

1. Does anyone know of any reliable scientific evidence which shows that it is essential for non-breastfed infants over the age of 6 months to have another type of milk (animal or soy) to ensure normal growth and development?

I was asked this question, which has obvious implications for the feeding of babies of HIV+ mothers, by Helen Armstrong of UNICEF and I don't know the answer. Hopefully one of you out there can help.

2. Thanks to everyone who responded to my query about the term PEM (although I note the email didn't seem to get through to several people on the network). I gather from a non-network colleague that the SCN is considering the issue but has not come to any conclusion. I was sorry to see the term used in the Press Release for the State of the World's Children.

While I agree that we, who read the international literature, know what PEM means, this is not always the case for middle or junior level health workers. I have met many who, understandably, thought the main cause of the condition was protein and advised families accordingly. This does not necessarily translate into an effective diet nor deal with the other immediate or underlying causes. Surely we need a term that gives correct information to these important frontline workers.

Merry Christmas to all



Ann Burgess, Nutrition Consultant

Craiglea Cottage, Glenisla, Blairgowrie PH11 8PS

Scotland, UK

Ph: +44 1575 582218