Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Plumpy'Nut: Tabatchnick Takes On Nutriset

The debate over Plumpy'Nut and whether it should have been patented in the first place continues.

Now US food company Tabatchncik Fine Foods is talking about creating its own peanut-based therapeutic food to feed severely malnourished youngsters, according to IRIN. And Tabatchnick is considering making its product open-source so anyone can copy their recipe.

From the IRIN piece, as aggregated by Reuters:

"Ben Tabatchnick, head of the family business, said his product was still in the development phase, but the patent would be "open-source", which would allow other producers to replicate his recipe.

His company "was trying to take the fear out of other producers from producing RUTF and keeping up with demand; no one producer can supply (even with licensed franchises) the world demand for RUTF and RUSF [ready-to-use supplementary foods]", he commented. "By allowing others free access (with proper oversight by UNICEF and MSF), this can and will be accomplished." "

For a quick introduction to the patent, see "What Plumpy'Nut Taught Me"

To see all my past posts and links on Plumpy'Nut, click here:


Cabbage soup recipe said...

I'm not sure what the impact would be of patenting the Plumpy'Nut in the first place. I mean what is the point of getting a patent if you allow for open source to replicate the recipe. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of a patent?

Cabbage Soup Diet

Rémi Vallet said...

Dear Mrs Gorman,

I've been following with great interest your various posts about Plumpy'nut® and RUTF. The last one prompts me to send a comment, since the IRIN article you refer to is quite misleading. Below, you'll find an excerpt of Nutriset comments, and a link to download our complete letter. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you want more info.

Rémi Vallet
Communications Manager / Nutriset

Dear partners,

Following the recent publication of an article on IRIN’s website (Making peanut butter gets stickier,, Nutriset has decided to send a few comments as some of the statements made in the article are rather misleading, biased, and do not properly reflect the reality of the ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) situation today.

In particular, Nutriset would like to highlight three main points:

1) The issue of access to RUTF has nothing to do with a lack of production capacity resulting from existing patents; rather, it is the result of insufficient funding to implement appropriate nutrition interventions that employ products such as Plumpy’nut®, the original RUTF.

2) Nutriset has always been committed to ensuring nutritional solutions are made available to vulnerable groups, and describing the company as a “hurdle” is simply not accurate.

3) The approach of Nutriset in regards to the management of its Intellectual Property (IP) rights is to use the patents as a protective tool to foster the expansion of sustainable production of high-quality RUTF and Lipid-based Nutrient Supplements (LNS, a preventive RUF) in developing countries.

To read the entirety of Nutriset’s comments, please click on the link below to download our letter (PDF):