WHO to Revise Guidance on Food Aid

By the Associated Press | October 13, 2011 | 11:40 AM EDT

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says it plans to revise its guidance on food aid destined for young children to be more effective at reducing moderate malnutrition.

Activists say the move is necessary to effectively combat malnutrition in children under five.

The head of WHO's nutrition department told The Associated Press that the new guidelines are likely to make food aid more expensive in the short term, but the improved formulas will be more effective.

Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the agency's Department of Nutrition and Health Development, said Thursday the guidelines should be approved by the end of the year.

The guidance won't be binding, but recipients of food aid will be able to compare it as a minimum standard to measure future deliveries.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GENEVA (AP) — The aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres says most food donations to combat malnutrition among children lack vital ingredients and should be replaced with better-suited products.

The group, also known as Doctors without Borders, says commonly used corn-soy blends of flour such as those provided by the U.S. to poor countries are "sub-standard."

The group urged the World Health Organization on Thursday to release revised guidance on food aid that was first debated at a meeting three years ago.

WHO said it wasn't immediately able to comment on the issue.

The head of Doctors without Borders' malnutrition campaign, Stephane Doyon, says improved blends of corn-soy flour or products made from peanut paste would better meet the needs particularly of children under 2.