<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), a RSS-affiliated body, on Tuesday attacked Niti Aayog for pushing packed dietary supplements for malnourished children instead of supplying fresh, home-cooked meals by seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in tackling the problem. SJM has long been opposing ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) provided by several states to malnourished children.Talking to DNA, SJM national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said Niti Aayog is trying to mislead the government by pushing for RUTF which would benefit certain private entities.”We, however, will continue to oppose the move tooth and nail as RUTF is not a sustainable solution to malnutrition. There are no studies to indicate its long-term health risks,” Mahajan said.In a letter to the PM, Mahajan said, “We are concerned about the decision taken, especially with inputs from Niti Aayog — who had recently constituted a working group on nutrition riddled with conflicts of interests. This is inspite of the fact that National Nutrition Strategy — launched by the Deputy Chairperson of Niti Aayog in September — recommends avoiding conflicts of interest in its guiding principles.””These food supplements will only serve the corporate interests rather than treating the malnourished children,” Mahajan wrote in the letter.He also stated that evidence is not in favour of use of RUTF adding that Union Health Minister JP Nadda had said RUTF may not benefit a common household in developing appropriate food habits for children against home-cooked food.RUTF food packets or supplements are a mixture of protein, carbohydrate, lipid and vitamins and minerals.In August, the Women and Child development ministry issued a circular to state governments telling them that the use of RUTF food to tackle Severe Acute Malnutrition is not ‘accepted policy’ of the Centre.In his letter, he also stated that in a response to parliament question in 2010, then Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna stated that UNICEF distributed RUTF in contravention to Government of India guidelines and was asked to ship it out.As a proof of that, the ministry referenced a February 2009 circular issued by the health ministry. The circular came a few days after the RSS-linked Swadeshi Jagran Manch objected the use of packet foods as RUTF because they felt that the move will only benefit corporate bodies and in states where it has been launched, RUTF have proved to be an expensive affair.However, WHO deputy director and former ICMR chief Soumya Swaminathan had told DNA that there is no health issue with the usage of RUTF food.”In several cases that we have observed, RUTF food has helped severely-malnourished children regain back their health without side-effects. I would recommend it,” said Swaminathan.WHAT IS RUTFRUTF food packets or supplements are a mixture of protein, carbohydrate, lipid and vitamins and minerals.
More here –