RUTF Factory Tour and Donation

This past week, Luke Mysse flew out to Atlanta to meet up with his StopSAM co-founder Mike Levison. Among other things, Luke and Mike spent time discussing future plans and goals for the organization. 

StopSAM founders Mike Levison and Luke Mysse.

StopSAM founders Mike Levison and Luke Mysse.

The StopSAM team also had the great privilege of traveling to the MANA Nutrition plant (four hours south of Atlanta for a tour), but more importantly, Mike and Luke presented a $5,000 check, which buys almost 13,000 lifesaving packets, to the MANA staff. This was made possible by your efforts and generous donations, and the StopSAM team can't thank you enough.

 $5,000. donation made to buy packets of RUTF. 

 $5,000. donation made to buy packets of RUTF. 

Luke and Mike also learned how RUTF was made and met the amazing MANA staff. "You got this feeling that you were somewhere special when you were walking around; this wasn't just any factory. The smell of peanut butter, the sound of the machines spitting out packets and an overall sense of purpose. The company culture was great. Every person I met there knew how special this place was. They knew they were saving lives," said Luke. 

MANA now produces over 250,000 packets a day, but has plenty of room for expansion. What that means is they have bandwidth to produce more as StopSAM continues raising money and awareness. 

Mike and Luke were joined on the tour by Rick, Luke's dad, and Mike's two daughters, Cari and Naomi. As a college senior, Cari has been instrumental in starting StopSAM’s high school club program, and Naomi is leading one of the first clubs at her high school. It's great to see young people give a voice to those suffering from SAM. 

The StopSAM team looks forward to many updates like this. Remember, 100% of the money raised goes to buy packets. Let's keep up the great work!

StopSAM team learning about how RUTF is made. 

StopSAM team learning about how RUTF is made. 

So what is RUTF?

Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) are high energy, fortified, ready-to-eat foods suitable for home based treatment of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Each pouch contains 500 calories. Its high caloric content, along with the high amounts of protein and fat, results in rapid weight growth, long-term muscle development, and a stronger immune system. If eaten two times a day for two to five weeks, a child can be saved from severe malnutrition.

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5 Advantages of RUTF:

  1. RUTF can be consumed directly by the child and provides sufficient nutrient intake for complete recovery.
  2. Children treated at home with RUTF have better recovery rates than those that are hospitalized, and have less risk of acquiring hospital-related infections.
  3. Mothers are not required to stay with a sick child in the hospital away from home, enabling them to continue agricultural work or other efforts needed to ensure the livelihood of the entire family.
  4. RUTF is a ready-to-use paste that does not need to be mixed with water, thereby avoiding the risk of bacterial proliferation in case of accidental contamination.
  5. RUTF can be stored for three to four months without refrigeration, even at tropical temperatures. RUTF claims an outstanding 90 percent success rate in treatment of children with SAM. Even with the growing number of manufacturers, there is not enough RUTF being produced to provide the world’s 20 million children with the life-saving paste. 

Brief History of RUTF 

1996- The first peanut paste RUTF was developed.

2004- Demand began to rise as more countries began implementing the use of  RUTF and it becomes increasingly urgent for UNICEF to identify new  sources of the product. 

2006- Supply Division began to work with manufacturers in countries where the RUTF could be manufactured for local use and approved suppliers in  Niger and Ethiopia for local distribution.

2007- RUTF was endorsed as the standard of treatment worldwide for severe  acute malnutritin by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO),  the Word Food Program (WFP), and the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition.

2009- Twelve manufacturing companies meet UNICEF’s requirements for global supply of RUTF. 

2010- UNICEF is implementing CMSAM in about 55 countries, where there are  6.1 million children with SAM.