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USDEC members quick to offer Haiti relief

Six U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) members - Darigold Inc., James Farrell & Co., Hoogwegt U.S. Inc., Land O'Lakes Inc., Agri-Mark Inc., and Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association - donated and pledged more than 30,000 lbs. of nonfat dry milk bound for Haiti today to replace previously purchased powder that was lost in last week's devastating earthquake. The milk powder will be used by Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), an organization that manufactures UNICEF-approved, ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) for Haiti's malnourished children.

MFK produces and distributes Medika Mamba, single-serve foil sachets that serve as a complete food product for children under the age of five. It is a mixture of powdered milk, ground peanuts, sugar, oil, vitamins and minerals.

"We appreciate the generosity and quick action of the Export Council's members in response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. This donation will feed about 6,000 children," says Veronique Lagrange, USDEC's vice president of strategic research and insights. "Medika Mamba, like other UNICEF-approved RUTFs, provides much-needed nutrients and quality proteins. The product is shelf-stable and doesn't require water; it is also very safe, making it perfect for the conditions there."

USDEC will be working with MFK to evaluate future needs and develop a plan to provide powder to this factory over the next few months, Lagrange adds. Ongoing work with this group is for supply of product on a commercial basis, not donation.

"We are working on the logistics of this shipment, not only for a one-time effort, but also for the medium-term, since nutrition will remain a key issue for children in Haiti as recovery continues in the days ahead," she says.

Milk donations were organized by USDEC, in partnership with the American Peanut Council, which coordinated donations of oil, sugar, micronutrients and packaging materials, in addition to peanuts.