Thursday, November 04, 2010

Enriched Vegetable Oil Improves Lives

Many nations have a particular crop or product that it a symbol of their health, growth, and prosperity and remains an integral part of their society. For many nations, it is bread. For others, corn. During my time in China I quickly learned that rice (or noodles, depending on where you were) was not simply a meal but rather, for many families, it was the staple of their food consumption. Every lunch and dinner somehow incorporated rice into the meal and their culture reflected their reverence and appreciation for the crop.

In Egypt, that admiration is not reserved for a crop, per se, but an oil. Vegetable oil. As an important, cheap ingredient, vegetable oil allows families to prepare a variety of dishes from simple starches. However, in a country where half of the children are anaemic due to lack of vegetables and fruits, government officials have begun looking for ways to supplement nutrition without raising food prices.

Recently, the Egyptian government began distributing vegetable oil enriched with vitamin A and D. By choosing a staple product that Egyptian families already heavily use, they are able to solve the nutritional problems without dramatically changing the food culture of Egyptian society. This new oil is expected to reach over 60,000,000 people and should significantly increase the health of Egyptian Children.

Delicious and nutritious. Now that's some food for thought.

-Corey Cox

World Food Programme