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DOST develops RTE meals for malnutrition, calamity readiness

THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) introduced “MeaLusog,” a nutritious “ready-to-eat” meal during emergency situations.

MeaLusog contains rice with dried vegetables, fruits, and meat in ready-to-go containers. It comes in three varieties: Pork Picadillo, Chicken Pochero, and Mixed Veggies Arroz Caldo.

“You just pour hot water and yun na po ang makakain ninyo, so it’s a drop and go during disaster,” DOST-FNRI director Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa said.

Agdeppa said the packaging is shock-proof, making it easy to be dropped in evacuation centers. 

Apart from disaster preparedness, MeaLusog will help improve the nutrition of Filipinos, especially pregnant and lactating women, children, senior citizens, and immuno-compromised individuals, who are most vulnerable during disasters. 

Launched in July 2022, DOST-FNRI came up with other seven new food technologies including Coco Blend, Coco Bisc, Coco Puff, the Nutribunnets; Protein Food Bar; MNERK (Multi-nutrient extruded rice kernel) and MGM (Micronutrient growth mix) for pregnant and lactating women.

On July 20 this year, new RTE nutritious food was launched including “Cocokies” hard cookies; CocoDairy milk blends in cow, carabao, and goat milk variants; Improved Nutribunnets; New Enhanced Nutribun Variants; and the Nutri Calaman-C Juice Drink. 

“These nutrient-dense food products are intended to provide additional options for feeding programs, relief operations, and other related nutrition projects primarily aimed at addressing malnutrition, especially among young children,” the DOST-FNRI website post reads.

Calcium, Vitamin K boosted 

Agdeppa said the research institute is looking into the inclusion of vitamin K and calcium in the nutritional guidelines to combat stunting.

“There are reviews made that found out vitamin K is related to stunting, and we realized that is the reason why the stunting rate in the country never reduces,” Agdeppa said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that the stunting rate in children aged 0-23 months has not changed for the past 10 years, where 21.6% nationwide are stunted.

Agdeppa stressed stunted growth can also be attributed to the lack of calcium intake. 99% of the population experiences a deficiency of the mineral.


Photo courtesy of DOST website


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