Two non-profit organizations that are near and dear to Nutrition Business Journal’s heart were featured in Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times op-ed column on January 3. Titled “World’s Healthiest Food,” the column lauded the work of Project Healthy Children (PHC) and Vitamin Angels to eradicate micronutrient malnutrition through food fortification and supplementation. Folic acid and other micronutrients—which are often tragically absent from the food supplies within developing countries such as Honduras and Rwanda—are “miracle” substances, Kristof wrote. “There’s scarcely a form of foreign aid more cost-effective than getting them into the food supply,” he added.
PHC, winner of NBJ’s 2008 Nutrition-Related Non-Profit award, works with governments and private industry to establish efficient and cost-effective food-fortification programs that improve the health of people around the globe—every time they eat a meal. “Our mission is to help develop and implement food-fortification strategies in seven countries over seven years covering 70 million people,” PHC Founder David Dodson told NBJ last year. “We go into a country with the intent of leaving as quickly as possible, but we don't leave until the food is fortified. That is our commitment to the country, to our donors and to ourselves.”
Vitamin Angels, winner of a 2005 NBJ award, is well known (and supported) throughout the nutrition industry for its work to aggressively address the problem of global malnutrition—one vitamin at a time. "One of our tag lines at Vitamin Angels is: ‘Be an angel, save a life.’ This is not something that is hopeful. This is a literal reality," Vitamin Angels Founder Howard Schiffer told NBJ last year. "We are saving lives every day. For this industry, that is a very powerful message and initiative to align yourself with. To be able to say, ‘We are working with Vitamin Angels. We are saving lives every day.’ That is very powerful."
According to Kristof, adding iodine, iron, vitamin A, zinc and folic acid to food is pretty inexpensive—costing about 30 cents per person per year—but highly effective. “As the United States reorganizes its chaotic aid program,” Kristof wrote, “it might try promoting what just may be the world’s most luscious food: micronutrients.”
My hope is that such premium media coverage earns PHC, Vitamin Angels and other organizations working to eliminate malnutrition the support and funding they need to continue doing their good work in 2010 and beyond. If your company does not yet support one of these organizations, please consider getting involved this year.
On a different note, NBJ will announce its 2009 Award winners later this month. Once again, we are recognizing an impressive lineup of companies, executives and organizations within the global nutrition industry.
Related NBJ links: