5-8 October 2020. The Future of Food Assistance for Nutrition: Evidence Summit II. Organised by the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the Food Aid Quality Review project managed byt he Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Building on a first event held in 2018, this Summit bought together practitioners, policymakers, industry professionals, program funders, and researchers to share and discuss new evidence from the past two years, prioritize future evidence needs, and consider how to support more cost-effective programming aimed at improving nutrition in the context of food assistance interventions of all kinds.
This Summit showcased new findings from studies around the world, covering key food assistance for nutrition themes, including:
- Impacts of pandemics and other disease outbreaks on programming and supply chain logistics;
- Recent advances in science related to nutrition and specialized nutritious food products; and
- How to improve programming.
This plenary bridged recent scientific discoveries with considerations for programming and policy to help define the future of food assistance for nutrition. This discussion detailed possible biological and environmental mechanisms that underlie deficits in the growth and development of children due to malnutrition. Highlighted topics included enteric health and the gut microbiome, as well as cognitive development of young children in the presence of acute malnutrition.
Panel 1: Intakes of Micronutrients and Animal Source Foods for Nutrition Outcomes
This session reviewed the current scientific evidence and programming implications related to micronutrients and animal source foods for nutrition, including fortification of food aid products to address micronutrient deficiencies, lipid-based nutrient supplements, and using animal source foods to meet nutrient needs.
Plenary III: Implications of Treatment and Prevention of Malnutrition Strategies for Food Assistance Programming
This plenary bridged recent scientific discoveries with considerations for programming and policy to help define the future of food assistance for nutrition. This discussion detailed possible biological mechanisms that underlie deficits in the growth of children due to malnutrition. Highlighted topics will include enteric health and the gut microbiome, as well as cognitive development of young children in the presence of acute malnutrition.
Panel 4: Food Safety and Naturally Occurring Contaminants in Food Assistance Products
This session reviewed food safety concerns related to naturally occurring contaminants that can be introduced into food aid products at the raw materials stage, during manufacturing, and throughout the supply chain for these products. This discussion highlighted the importance of evolving food safety measures and of addressing inconsistencies in the current evidence base.