Fitzgerald plant helping malnourished kids

Published: May. 4, 2011 at 10:51 PM EDT|Updated: May. 7, 2011 at 10:38 PM EDT
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Production is now underway at a plant in Ben Hill County that is helping feed starving children overseas.

It's called Mana. Wednesday state and local leaders celebrated the grand opening of the facility.

MANA stands for Mother Administered Nutritive Aid and it is referred to as a ready to use therapeutic food..that means a mother can give her child the food herself, no doctors needed

Inside this small packet are just a few simple ingredients, "We use a lot of milk powder, mix that with peanut butter and serve that to the child."

But the effects these small packets have on malnourished children are massive. "Everytime this tank is emptied 2,124 children will be fed," said Mark Moore, CEO of MANA.

Inside each packet are 550 calories. If a packet is consumed three times a day for six to eight weeks it will help save a severely malnourished child's life.

Although the food will be consumed by children overseas it's manufactured right here in the United States at this plant in Ben Hill County. It's the only factory in America to produce the product at such a large volume."American Blanching brings over the peanut paste in these huge 44,000 gallon tankers," he said.

It's a joint effort to produce the product. Allen Conger, The Director of American Blanching invested over than a million dollars in the project. His company produces the peanut paste, and delivers it next door to the Mana plant.

A dozen people are currently employed but officials say as the production picks up to 70 new jobs could be created over the next few years.

American Blanching and Mana are considering future expansions of the facility to take on a new food product designed for disaster relief in devastated areas.

If you would like to find out more about MANA click here

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