National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943 (1943)

Chapter: Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education, January 23, 1943

« Previous: Rationing and Morale, November 21, 1942
Suggested Citation:"Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education, January 23, 1943." National Research Council. 1943. The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9566.
Page 162
Suggested Citation:"Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education, January 23, 1943." National Research Council. 1943. The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9566.
Page 163
Suggested Citation:"Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education, January 23, 1943." National Research Council. 1943. The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9566.
Page 164

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FEEDING LIBERATED COUNTRIES AND' NUTRITION EDUCATION * JANUARY 23, 1943 At this meeting a pattern was developed for presenting information to the American people about feeding liberated countries. Tile entire program demonstrated ~) how understanding can be developed and interest aroused in the actual engineering problem that is presented by food deficiencies all over Europe, and ~ ~ tl~e steps that can be taken to overcome these de- ficiencies. It also showed how the material can be integrated into the whole nutrition program so that the American people would learn more about nutrition itself. According to Mr. L. A. H. Peters, Agricultural Attache of the Nether- lands Embassy, information on the situation in Holland is obtained from persons who have escaped from Holland as well as through Nazi-controlled newspapers and radio which, if distorting the data, probably make it look more optimistic. In November ~94~, the energy value of the legal food ration per normal consumer per day was ~500 calories, far below the League of Nations standard of Woo calories. The shortages were greatest in the pro- tective foods, and there was a 76~o deficiency in fats and calcium. Silent evi- dence of this was the ~470 increase in deaths due to influenza in ~94~ over ~939. In addition, the greater incidence of certain contagious diseases, such as diphtheria and dysentery, was attributed partly to nutritional deficiencies and partly to lack of medical supplies. The need for extensive relief measures in the form of large quantities of meat and eggs, or appropriate substitutes, as well as other foods rich in vitamins and minerals was particularly stressed. Feed and eggs for hatching would also have to be imported in order to rehabili- tate domestic production. Miss Maria Babicka, of the Polish Inflation Center, reported that the educated and professional classes in Poland are being slowly starved, and the masses are reduced to slavery. Little is known of the food situation in the eastern part of Poland, although the people living there are believed to be in dire straits. In the central region, the aim of the German-controlled economy is to obtain in the shortest possible time the maximum food and economic resources for the German war effort. Official rations amount to only 700-800 calories per day, and yet the people are subjected to the heaviest labor. lIorse- flesh is a luxury. In such a situation, black markets flourish, but the prices are so exorbitant and wages so low that many cannot patronize them. In the western part of the country, which has been illegally "incorporated" into Germany, the food supplies are allocated for the Poles only after the stores * See ``Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education,' Journal American Dietetic Association I9 259-273, 1943. Also minutes of the Liaison Session of the Committee on Food Habits, January 23, ~943, under same title. ~62

Feeding Liberated Countries and N~`tr~tio'~ Education ~63 for the Germans in that region have been adequately supplied. The yews are subjected to the worst conditions of all as they are restricted to the ghettos where the ration is continually changed and usually reduced, and the black market, where the prices are even higher, is more dangerous because of the strict surveillance and harsher punishment. It was estimated that Poland would need extensive relief for probably a year after the war, although in certain areas the food-producing potentialities might be fairly good because of the German use of the ground for agriculture. The North African situation was described by Mr. Milton S. Eisenhower, of the Office of War Information, who reported that the Nazis had taken everything movable from the area, so that food, clothing, and other commodi- ties were so scarce that people could not even use their money-. The first thing to be done is to tide over the civilian population with food until the new crop is harvested, and in the meantime help them produce the maximum amount of food themselves by sending necessary fertilizers, machinery repair parts, and fuel for the mechanized farm equipment. Plans should also be laid to give help for the expansion of production as quickly as possible. As examples of the way in which news about feeding operations could be made both interesting and nutritionally educational, two of the speakers de- scribed the present plans for an emergency ration and for longer-time feed- ing in the liberated countries. Some of the requirements for both are that they be highly nutritious but yet require only commodities available in large amounts, be compact, stable under adverse conditions, and not too hard to eat. Miss Charlotte Chatfield, formerly of the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, described the emergency ration, which is planned for use in reoccupied countries behind the lines where there may be complete absence of other foods and very primi- tive or no cooking facilities. The present plan is to furnish 2,000 calories per day per person at a weight of slightly over one pound. Four rations have been planned thus far, containing as the chief ingredients: ~) a dry soup containing skim milk, peas, seasoning, and brewer's yeast; 2) a reinforced cereal; 3) a biscuit; 4) a peanut butter-soy spread to use on the biscuit. Other plans are to develop some fat to be used as a spread or in the soup, and some source of Vitamin C, either in the form of legumes to be sprouted or concentrates. Dr. Esther F. Phipard, of the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Eco- nomics, United States Department of Agriculture, described the problems to be met in planning for longer-time feeding in the liberated countries, namely, estimating carefully the food requirements of each country and planning for the accumulation of food supplies to meet the requirements. Should no food be available in a liberated country, a complete maintenance ration can be built around grain products which are abundant in this country, supple- mented by smaller amounts of other types of food. Milk in some form should be sent into everY country, and special provision made for children and for , pregnant and nursing mothers. Infants in particular should be supplied with a completely adequate food supply as malnutrition at this early age seems to have more disastrous effects later than malnutrition at any other age. II

64 The Problem of Changing Food Habits In the short discussion following these two papers, the suggestion was made repeatedly that we need to know the acceptability of these emergency rations to the various nationality groups who may receive them, since pos- sibly a change in the combination of foods, or the form in which they are to be prepared? or in the seasoning, may determine to a great-degree their useful- ness. It was also suggested that such information could be presented to the American public as a problem solved by ingenuity and nutritional infor- mation, and consequently would serve as ore indirect method of nutrition education. In the final paper the vital importance of helping the peasant help him- self was emphasized by Mr. George Radin, Lend-Lease Representative of Yugoslavia, who pointed out that after the last war the relief program in Serbia ended when the first crop was harvested. He emphasized that the population of that country preferred to help itself rather than to accept re- lief; they wanted help to organize their own economy-farm implements seeds, and domestic animals. Since 76%0 of the people are farmers and live from agriculture, it will be easier for them to start immediate production of food. The help given them would be handled through cooperative centers, enabling all the inhabitants living in a county, for example, to use the machinery from the center. Each of the speakers describing the situation in other countries repeatedly stressed the importance of sending not only food for relief, but the means of starting food production in every country, so that each could become self- sufficient in the shortest possible time. The effect on American morale was also emphasized, that whereas after the last war we sent surplus food, after this one we will not have any surplus, and the American people may resist the task of feeding the whole world as too big and impossible. By under- standing that it would be only for a limited period of time, they would be enabled to accept the enormous need of the other countries for help from America at the outset of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Next: Problems of Food Supply, Food Habits, and Nutrition in China, February 11, 1943 »
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