Children in Cambodia, Guatemala and Senegal may live in three very different regions of the world, but thousands of children in each will soon share in more nutritious meals made with U.S. textured soy protein (TSP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is buying 470 metric tons of TSP from Cargill in response to requests from three different international organizations for their school feeding programs where the soy protein will provide much-needed protein and other nutritional benefits.

USDA is purchasing the TSP through the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Cargill’s Cedar Rapids facility will bag the TSP for shipment in December.

“These purchases requested for such diverse countries demonstrate the power of soy to improve diets around the world,” said Philip Bradshaw, chairman of the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) board and Illinois soybean grower from Griggsville. “The textured soy protein can be easily added to foods that are already popular in these countries. Soy can be part of the solution for children to grow and learn.”

The TSP Cargill is producing is 52% protein and has the texture of ground beef when cooked. It will add much-needed protein to meals prepared for school children who rarely have the opportunity to eat meat. “Cargill is again pleased to partner with the private voluntary organizations who will be able to improve thousands of children’s lives with this high-protein ingredient,” said Gregg Nelson, Cargill Texturizing Solutions Soy Protein Development lead.

Food For The Poor (FFP), Inc. will receive 300 metric tons of TSP to continue their school feeding program in Guatemala. “In 2006 more than 69,500 people in Guatemala benefited from the nutritious textured soy protein shipped by Food For The Poor,” said Robin Mahfood, president of Food For The Poor. “Education is the beginning of the end of poverty.”

“Food For The Poor's experience with extremely malnourished children has taught us how important a diet including protein is in relation to learning. Textured soy protein fulfills that protein requirement,” added Mahfood. “Food For The Poor is proud to help Guatemalan children learn and gain dietary wellness, and we thank the USDA and the soybean producers for being Food For The Poor's partners in this very important work – WISHH, the private voluntary organizations, the farmers – all of us together save lives.”

Salesian Missions, a not-for-profit organization working with the youth in more than 3,400 Salesian schools and universities in 135 countries around the world, will receive 120 metric tons of TSP for its school feeding program in Cambodia. Salesian Missions uses a well-balanced diet, which includes soy as one of its main sources of protein in feeding programs. With food provided by the U.S. Government and private donors, Salesian Missions provides meals to the poor and underprivileged youth in communities around the world. In Cambodia for example, the group manages a USDA-sponsored program for children where TSP is mixed with rice and vegetables in a stew in primary schools, and also provides infants a highly fortified soy milk (drink).

Nearly half-way around the globe from Cambodia, Counterpart International will use 50 metric tons of TSP in its school feeding program in the West African country of Senegal. “The use of high protein soy in the diets of children in Northern Senegal will have a striking developmental impact,” said Counterpart International Vice President for Global Agriculture and Economic Growth David Cohen. “The nutritional benefit of including textured soy in school children's midday meal will not only make them healthier, the meals will be an incentive for the children to attend and stay in school and it will improve their ability to learn.”