Aug. 4, 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a fully cooked food-aid product called Instant Corn Soy Blend that supplements meals, particularly for young children. The work was led by food technologist Charles Onwulata at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Dairy Processing and Products Research Unit at the agency's Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pa.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
Onwulata worked with a team of USDA scientists, program managers, policy administrators and international aid agencies for more than a decade while developing the new emergency aid meal. Food aid humanitarian efforts are the result of collaborations involving multiple national and international government managers, aid agency officials, and policy administrators.
Onwulata developed the new food product using the same type of machines that are used to make fully cooked puffed snacks and cereals. "Cheese puffs" and "cereal puffs," for example, have been popular in the United States for more than 50 years. The extrusion technology used to make Instant Corn Soy Blend cooks food completely in a short period of time under high heat and high pressure. The crunchy, fully cooked product exits the extruder through an opening at the end of the machine in less than two minutes. The resulting Instant Corn Soy Blend is then crushed and milled to form the ration.
The ARS technology significantly enhances the uniform distribution of added vitamins and minerals in a supplemental food ration that can be used for overseas delivery for mass-feeding of young children and others.
Instant Corn Soy Blend could also soon be purchased for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service-administered McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which provides U.S. agricultural products for school feeding and other projects in more than 30 countries.
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