Amy Wales, PATH, 206.285.3500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Roqua Montez, The Tech Museum, 408.795.6225, email@example.com
Anne Heise, Ogilvy Public Relations, 415.677.2731, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle, WA, September 2, 2009—PATH’s Ultra Rice technology has been named one of 15 innovations from around the world to be honored as a 2009 Tech Award Laureate by The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums. The Tech Awards program annually honors individuals and organizations that are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change in five Laureate categories: education, equality, environment, economic development and health. The actual winner of this prestigious award will be announced on November 19, at an awards ceremony in San Jose, California.
PATH’s Ultra Rice was selected as a 2009 Tech Award Laureate in the health category from a competitive field of 650 nominations representing 66 countries across all five categories. Ultra Rice is a culturally appropriate and cost-effective rice fortification technology expressly designed to meet the needs of resource-poor, rice-consuming populations in developing countries disproportionately affected by widespread micronutrient malnutrition.
“We are honored to have Ultra Rice recognized as a 2009 Tech Award Laureate,” said Dipika Matthias, Ultra Rice Project Director at PATH. “We strongly believe in the potential of rice fortification and the critical role that Ultra Rice can play in the set of current and emerging solutions to address the intractable problem of micronutrient malnutrition in the developing world.”
Ultra Rice’s micronutrient delivery system packs iron, zinc, folic acid, or other nutrients that growing bodies need into manufactured rice grains that are made from rice flour and shaped to resemble the traditionally milled rice with which they are blended, typically at a ratio of 1:100. Nutrient-rich Ultra Rice grains can be manufactured to look like local varieties of rice and include the specific nutrients needed by a particular population. Also, Ultra Rice grains are cooked as rice is cooked customarily—requiring no change in food preparation habits.
Ultra Rice grains are proven to be safe and efficacious in multiple geographies and demographic groups, especially women and children—up to 50 to 75 percent of whom in the developing world are affected by anemia and other consequences of micronutrient deficiency. Ultra Rice ingredients meet international regulatory standards and include no genetically modified substances.
Although India is the second fastest growing economy in the world and is also the fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, malnutrition pervades—particularly iron-deficiency anemia, which impairs physical, social, and cognitive development and increases one’s susceptibility to infections and death from disease. The 2008 Global Hunger Index ranks India 66 out of 88 countries but concludes that India has more than 200 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition—more than any other country in the world.
In 2008, PATH and its partners in India launched a program that provides rice fortified with iron-rich Ultra Rice to the Government of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme operating outside of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh—a central region of India. There, lunches made iron rich by Ultra Rice are served six times per week to approximately 60,000 school children each day. Still underway, this program’s nutrient-packed lunches provide school children 50 percent of their daily requirement for iron—bolstering the children’s immune systems and helping them to learn and grow.
The total potential benefit of rice fortified with Ultra Rice technology is enormous—more than half the global population in the developing world depends on rice as a staple food. The fortification of staple foods is also cost-effective. The Copenhagen Consensus, a group of preeminent economists that evaluate a variety of development proposals, recently ranked micronutrient fortification as number three on a list of the top 30 best ways to spend development aid.
The selection of Ultra Rice as a 2009 Laureate also means PATH is the first-ever organization to be a three-time Tech Award Laureate winner.
In 2007, The Tech Museum selected PATH’s Vaccine Vial Monitor (VVM) as a Tech Award Laureate in the health category. The VVM is a heat-sensitive label for vaccine vials that provides information on temperature exposure—helping health care workers to ensure children receive safe, potent immunizations that have not been damaged by heat. Laureate status was also bestowed onto PATH in 2003 for its Uniject™ device, a prefilled, single-use injection device that makes injections easier to give.
The Tech Museum is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California, its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, The Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and The Tech Awards, an internationally recognized awards program, The Tech Museum honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information, visit The Tech Museum of Innovation website.
In addition to recognizing 15 global Laureates at its November Award Gala, the 2009 Tech Awards program will honor Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental advocate Al Gore with the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award. Key partners of the Tech Awards include Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society; United Nations Development Programme; World Bank Institute; Catholic Relief Services; and Opportunity International. Other sponsors include Intel, Microsoft, KPMG, Google, Cisco, Forbes, Accenture, USAID, and the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, among many others.
Ultra Rice is a registered trademark in the United States of Bon Dente International.