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USDA Develops Cooked Corn-Soy Meal Supplement Product

Instant Corn-Soy Blend (Agricultural Research Service/USDA)

Instant Corn-Soy Blend (Agricultural Research Service/USDA)

The Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a fully cooked food-aid product called Instant Corn Soy Blend that supplements meals, particularly for young children. The work was led by food technologist Charles Onwulata at the USDA’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.

A nutritionally fortified and processed corn-soy blend is provided as a supplement to a ration that provides staple foods supplied as uncooked or partially cooked fortified corn- or wheat-soy blends. But as with most food products, such blends can go stale over time, and those blends with oils in the mix can go rancid.

The challenge before Onwulata and his colleagues then was to devise  a fully-cooked nutritional supplement. They developed the new food product using the same type of machines that are used to make fully cooked puffed snacks and cereals seen on grocery shelves.

The extrusion technology used to make Instant Corn Soy Blend cooks food completely in a short period of time under high heat and high pressure. The crunchy, fully cooked product exits the extruder through an opening at the end of the machine in less than two minutes, where it is then crushed and milled to form the ration.

Onwulata worked with a team of USDA scientists, program managers, policy administrators, and international aid agencies for more than a decade while developing the new emergency aid meal. The corn-soy blend could serve as one of the products distributed through Department of Agriculture and USAID emergency aid or child nutrition programs in more than 30 countries.

Read more: Study: Local Food Can Improve Oregon’s Health, Create Jobs

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