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Also In Global Health News: RUTF; Global Hunger; Preventing Natural Disasters; El Salvador Floods

IRIN Examines Plumpy’Nut’s Role In RUTF Market

IRIN examines how a new ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) from Tabatchnick Fine Foods could challenge the “12-year dominance” of Plumpy’nut. “The patents for Plumpy’nut … are owned by Nutriset, a French family-run business, and the Institute of Research for Development, a French public research institute. Now an American family-owned company … is turning the heat up in the blended food kitchen by applying for a patent for their RUTF in the U.S. – where the Plumpy’nut patent is registered – to treat malnutrition in children and boost women’s immune systems.” The article looks at how patents could play a role in the distribution of the RUTFs and also looks at the cost of exporting Plumpy’nut from France (11/11).

Reuters Examines Efforts To Create Second Green Revolution

Reuters explores “a loose coalition of interests” that includes seed company Monsanto and other businesses, foundations, scientists and others who want to create a “second Green Revolution” to address global hunger. “In this new paradigm, traditional plant breeding is giving way to the high-tech tools of rich corporations like Monsanto, which are playing an increasingly powerful role in determining how and what the world eats. It is also generating controversy, as critics continue to question the safety of biotech crops, and fear increasing control of the global food supply by giant corporations,” the news service writes. The article also looks at Monsanto’s humanitarian work in parts of the developing world and its agriculture technologies (Gillam, 11/11).

Report Calls For Humanitarian Funds To Go Toward Natural Disasters

“Rich nations should do more to help vulnerable countries prepare for natural disasters if they want their stretched humanitarian funds to go further during the economic downturn, a report said Tuesday,” Reuters/New York Times reports (11/10). The Humanitarian Response Index 2009, published by the non-profit Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA), ranked 22 donor governments and the European Commission according to “donor performance in assisting people affected by crises.” It found that “wealthy countries’ support for prevention remains weak, while disasters – many climate-related – and conflicts mount,” IRIN reports (11/10).

WFP Responds To Food Shortages In El Salvador After Floods Destroy Crops

“At least 10,000 Salvadorans are in urgent need of food aid after floods and mudslides destroyed huge swaths of crops during harvest season, the U.N. World Food Program [WFP] said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports. “The WFP said 90 tons of high-energy biscuits will be ready for distribution in two days, a supply that can feed 70,000 people for four days. Another 1,000 tons of food is also available in the country” (Aleman, 11/10). “President Funes [of El Salvador] has blamed previous Salvadorian governments for failing to put in place the prevention measures which could have mitigated the worst effects of the floods,” the BBC reports. “He is also calling upon the country’s National Assembly to release $150m of international aid money immediately” (11/10).