International Consultancy: Food Safety Risks for alternative Ingredients for Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), 2 months, Remote

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UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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DK Home-based; Copenhagen (Denmark)

Application deadline 2 months ago: Thursday 17 Nov 2022 at 22:55 UTC

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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, Care...

The development of RUTF along with the adoption of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) have greatly increased the effectiveness and efficiency of therapeutic care for children with severe wasting. Over the last four years, UNICEF helped provide life-saving therapeutic feeding to around 5.4 million children with SAM1 and procured an average of 50 000 metric tons (MT) of RUTF annually2. Despite high procurement volumes, UNICEF still only covered 39% of the global estimated number of children suffering from severe wasting as of 2021.3 One of the ways to reach more children with this life saving product is to provide a more cost-effective formulation. RUTF is procured using public funding, and in the spirit of transparency UNICEF holds tender meetings and supply forums to share information and encourage innovative solutions to optimizing RUTF.

Currently, most of the RUTF procured by UNICEF is based on peanuts, sugar, milk powder (providing 50% of protein), oil and a vitamin/mineral premix. RUTF is a low moisture food and is produced in facilities that are either purpose built or as part of a facility that manufacture other low moisture foods. The UNICEF specification includes all major risks for the peanut-based formula and has been used as a basis for the text in a Codex RUTF Guideline due to be adopted in November 2022. During the development of the Codex guideline, a comprehensive review of contaminant risks was undertaken for potential ingredients that may be used in future formulations of RUTF. In addition, an FAO – WHO Technical Expert Meeting was held to review the microbiological risks associated with the target group receiving RUTF, resulting in a finished product microbiological criterion that is applied to the UNICEF specification.

UNICEF has also authored two alternative RUTF specifications that outline requirements for products that differ to the standard RUTF by either replacing peanuts, replacing milk, or replacing milk and including additional amino acids in each version of these formulae. These specifications include a general reference to codex quality standards; however several specific raw material risks have not been elucidated in the context of potential products based on the range of ingredient options offered in tendering exercises to date. For example, specific food safety incidents, quality issues with the supply chain have not been explored in detail for several ingredients. The raw materials for consideration are listed in table 1 below.


This project entails reviewing and consolidating the existing food safety reports and papers to date on the food safety risks of candidate ingredients (see table 1) and compiling the information into a written report of the microbiological, physical, and chemical risks for each ingredient. A gap analysis should be performed and then supplemented with a literature review as needed to complete the assessment of ingredients with more recent data or those previously not reviewed. All major food safety incidents and major risks associated with each ingredient should be included in the review.

Based on this information, a methodology for ranking the food safety risk should be identified from the current literature or developed if not found in the literature review. This will be used to provide a ranking of the risks relative to other mentioned ingredients and finally the report should include suggested mitigation strategies if these ingredients will be used in RUTF.

The output of this work will inform the larger “Alternative Ingredients for Malnutrition” (AIM) project that will be testing different alternative recipes of RUTF for acceptability and efficacy.

Assignment Objectives

  • Consolidate existing food safety reports and papers materials for all listed ingredients.
  • Identifying the gaps in the work done so far in assessing food safety risks of these raw materials (based on the FAO-WHO food safety report, contaminants report and other identified references).
  • Determining the major risks and major incidents of previously un-assessed ingredients.
  • Review and summarize the risks already identified in the existing references and then supplement this information with the previously unassessed raw materials for a complete overview of the food safety risks for ingredients listed in table 1.

Output: Report describing major risks and incidents for each materials listed. Table format(s) displaying major risks, including globally reported incidents.

  • Providing a risk ranking of each material listed in table 1 below, based on a pre-determined methodology.

Output: risk ranking described in text of the report. Tabulated representation of the risk ranking.

  • Providing recommended mitigation strategies for ingredients from table 1 as it applies to the production of RUTF.
  • Risk mitigation strategies described for each major risk identified for ingredient.
  • Summary/ conclusion: report includes summary and conclusions.

Additional questions the report should answer:

  • Are there international or regional standards for these raw materials?
  • What are the recommended treatments (mitigation strategies) to minimize the food safety risks, and how can suppliers best apply these in their manufacturing facilities?
  • Given local and regional preferences for certain ingredients, are there any further recommendations that can be offered to enable safe food that is well liked by different cultures?

Report format

  • Scientific review format, including tables and/or graphs
  • Pages: 20–30-page report, including executive summary.
  • Publication of the work in a scientific journal may be pursued and is a condition of the consultancy that UNICEF can publish the report or a consolidated version of the report.

How can you make a difference?

  • Methodology and report structure developed.
  • Review of existing selected papers.
  • Literature review to complete the sourcing of references for the risk assessment.
  • Description and analysis of food safety attributes for each ingredient.
  • Methodology developed for risk ranking of ingredients.
  • Risk ranking of ingredients, presented in tabular format.
  • Risk mitigation measures described and tabulated.
  • Finalization of the report, conclusions, and recommendations.
  • UNICEF review.
  • Editing and refining.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Education: Advanced university degree in one or more of the following areas: food technology/ engineering, food safety, microbiology, toxicology, or other relevant discipline within the food sciences area.

Work Experience: 7-10 years of progressively responsible professional work experience in food safety, toxicology, food science or related field. Specific expertise in raw material risk assessments highly desirable. A combination of suitable qualifications at an undergraduate level together with demonstrated expertise in the previously mentioned fields of professional work will also be accepted.

Language: Fluency in spoken and written English is a mandatory requirement. French or another UN language an asset.

Technical Competencies and Expertise:

  • Knowledge of Codex standards, product specifications development, food safety issues and risks management.
  • Ability to critically analyze information such as product quality test reports and peer review literature
  • Ability to write scientific papers and reports with a high standard of English.

Qualified candidates are requested to submit:

  1. Cover letter/application addressing how you meet the requirements of the assignment.
  2. Financial quote at a daily rate in US Dollars excluding all taxes.
  3. CV.
  4. At least one example of previous, relevant work.
  5. Brief proposal on how to accomplish the consultancy. (1/2page is sufficient)
  6. 3 References
  7. P 11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.

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