The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Food for Peace awarded the Food Aid Quality Review Phase III contract to Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy for the period covering February 1, 2016 to January 31, 2019 with two option years. The Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR) seeks to provide USAID and its partners with actionable recommendations on ways to improve nutrition among vulnerable people for whom the direct distribution of food aid can make a significant impact. The first phases of FAQR involve reviews of nutrition science; FAQR Phase I recommendations were published in Improving the Nutritional Quality of U.S. Food Aid: Recommendations for Changes to Products and Programs. This report led to FAQR Phase II’s focus on reformulating Fortified Blended Foods (FBFs), the inclusion of lipid-based products in FFP’s commodity list, and testing new products under field conditions. A full summary of FAQR Phase II accomplishments are highlighted in the Food Aid Quality Review Phase II Closeout Report.
FAQR Phase III will conclude Phase II activities, while also responding to additional (new) FFP priorities. FAQR Phase III focuses on generating links between research on food product formulation with recommendations on cost-effective programming and policy-level action among national and multilateral institutions engaged in food assistance. Tufts works closely with several key domestic and international collaborators, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and with United Nations (UN) partners, all of whom are committed to strengthening the evidence base for use of specialized food products for targeted nutrition goals.
Phase III Priority Areas
The framework for FAQR III focuses on:
FAQR examines such mission-critical issues as: how food matrices affect bioavailability of nutrients and digestibility of products; the potential for thermal/non-thermal processing technologies to improve food matrices; potential roles for existing products that are rarely used today, as well as new products (which may include fortificant powders) and novel packaging technologies to improve resistance to infestation, shelf life, and efficiency of handling; dual-use products for emergency response; completion of the data collection, analysis, and reporting on field studies that assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of various newly formulated food products.
FAQR focuses on program cost-effectiveness of various intervention designs. This includes strategy development for pre-positioned special nutrition products, guidance on options for deployment of specialized products, elaboration of a strategy for responding to food needs in the initial stages of a sudden onset emergency, and dissemination of cost calculation tools. It also generates improved technical guidance, share details on research protocols used in testing new food aid products in the field, and further harmonize product specifications.
FAQR III provides recommendations on institutional and industry processes for capacity building, including the institutionalization and strengthening of interagency technical collaborations, mechanisms to ensure greater policy and product harmonization (domestically and internationally), providing recommendations for enhanced supply chain oversight, establishing stronger and more user-friendly quality assurance feedback loops, as well as promoting food safety and quality standards that can also be applied to local and regional food procurement.