Ready-to-Eat Therapeutic Food

One revolutionary invention marked in food segment was development of therapeutic food products. Extensive research and development have made it possible to nutritionally enrich food product that can be used for therapeutic feeding. One such development is Ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF). RUTF is lipid rich homogenous mixture where lipid in viscous form are used for mixing other ingredients that are source of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals.  

Great mark by RUTF is it help in curbing children suffering from malnutrition. Major reason for malnutrition in children’s can be individual or combined factor like less access to nutritional food product, poor feeding practices, infections, etc. Malnutrition can be categorized depending upon its severity and most sever from of malnutrition is termed as severe acute malnutrition also known as SAM. RUTF products are low moisture based food product in paste form that can be fed as such to SAM affected children for treatment purpose.

Ready to use therapeutic product falls under category of low moisture food as its processing involves zero water usage, and this protects it from microbial contamination extending shelf life up to three to four months without requirement of any specific storage condition such as refrigeration. General composition of RUTF product are combination of fortified peanut paste, oil, sugar, milk powder, supplements of minerals and vitamins, etc.  

Manufacturing process

Micronutrients enriched, high energy product soft paste form food product is the most common form of RUTF and is an optimal option for home-based rehabilitation. Common procedure followed for manufacturing RUTF product involve lot of heat treatment.

Step-1 Sorting of peanuts/pulses/solid raw material + sieving of all incoming powdered raw material+ pipe in pipe filter for liquid raw material

Step-2 Roasting of peanut/pulses/cereals/other raw material

Step-3 Milling of roasted product.

Step-4 Weighing of powdered raw material like sugar, SMP and other formulation ingredient

Step-5 Mixing/blending all dry ingredient (milled product+ Sugar +other formulation ingredient)

Step- 6 Addition of oil+ other liquid ingredients in blender

Step-7 Collection of blended products in collection tank

Step-8 Passing product through high shear milling machine to obtain paste consistency product.

Step-9 Cooling down product temperature to around room temperature.

Step-10 Passing through metal detector before filling product.  

Below is a block diagram for RUTF processing and filling 


Designing RUTF manufacturing facility

Designing of RUTF manufacturing industry calls for great challenges. Some majors are listed here-

  1. Designing Layout

Main motive while designing RUTF based facility should be  

  • Adequate space for building facility
  • Hygienic designing and construction
  • To reduce or minimize the contamination in facility
  • Having optimal design for efficient and effective cleaning and maintenance.
  • Protection against any pest entrance and harborage inside plant.
  • Bifurcating area and properly zoning them on basis on low hygiene, medium hygiene, and High hygiene area.
  • Proper man- material movement and waste movement inside facility.
  • Proper physical separation for microbial contamination control between dry and wet processing area.
  1. Environmental Hygiene
    • Clean and filtered air, proper air changes in manufacturing and filling area, maintaining high pressure in the filling and processing area to prevent entry of dust and dirt from low hygienic zone.
  2. Production Facility –
    • Cleaning and maintenance at primary production area is of utmost importance as any contamination occurring can basically impact the quality of product.
    • Structure and fittings free to cavity to prevent pest harborage and dust.
    •  Controlled moisture in processing area.
    • Dry type cleaning preferred inside area.
  3. Handling-
    • Designated handling tools and equipments for each product.
    • Cleanliness of handling tools to be maintained
  4. Storage-
    • Designated storage condition to be maintained for each product.
    • Filtered air supply in product storage area    
  5. Personal Hygiene-
    • High personal hygiene to be maintained while entering process area.
    • Unhealthy or ill people to be kept out of processing and filling area.
    • Entry inside plant only after hand-wash, shoe change and uniform changing. No outside shoes or dress should be worn inside processing area and vice versa.  
  6. Equipment-
    • Preferred MOC is AISI stainless steel
    • Contact part to be non-absorbing, smooth finish and free of crevices.
  7. Lighting-
    • Adequate natural lighting to be present
    • Lighting intensity and LUX level to be suitable area wise.
    • Lighting fixture for all lights to prevent glass getting into product
    • Lights not to be installed just above structure or equipment. As cleaning and maintenance can be hindered.         

Concluding words shall be to have focus on having more local manufacturing units in nearby areas where there are notably larger group of malnutrition children. Having local manufacturing units shall help in having more sustainable and economical market, as there won’t be need to invest large cost on importing the product as well as they can be directly distributed to needful children and hence won’t require large investment on storage facility. NGO and medical representative  can always help in the identification and distribution work for curbing the high death rate of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.


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