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British Food Journal Volume 47 Issue 10 1945

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 October 1945



Europe is most desperately in need of the products of which there is a world‐wide shortage—fats and oils, meat and sugar. The problem of supplying wheat is not expected to be so serious. A special committee on food operating under authority of the Inter‐Agency Committee on Foreign Shipments estimates that liberated Europe requires imports of approximately the following quantities by the end of this year: Fats and oils, 800,000 tons; sugar, 800,000 tons; milk, 186,000 tons; wheat 8,000,000 tons; meat, poultry and cheese, 650,000 tons. However, these figures do not include any important needs for Italy, which was scheduled to receive 1,618,600 tons before the miltary relief programme ended, and which will need much more in the coming year. This brings fats and oil consumption up to only 90 per cent. of the pre‐war level, raises milk and meat supplies by only 10 per cent. of the pre‐war level, and allows only 22 lbs. of sugar per person. The analysis of need in Europe has given weight to two important considerations; (1) Basic physiological needs, and (2) customary habits of consumption. The latter is reflected in the pre‐war diets of the people of the liberated countries. In estimating the needs of Europeans for the coming year—taking both physiological needs and pre‐war habits into consideration, the Committee was concerned with food of four basic groups: fats and oils, proteins, sugar and wheat. (1) Fats and Oils. Nutritional authorities throughout the world agree that there is an urgent physiological need for a minimum quantity of fats as an element in the diets of all populations. This may be either “visible fat”—such as butter, or shortening used in cooking other foods, or it may be “invisible fats,” from other foods, such as meat, eggs, fish and milk. The Inter‐Allied Post‐War Requirements Bureau, set up in London prior to the establishment of U.N.R.R.A. and made up of representatives of the United Nations, states that just under 20 lbs. a year is the base level of visible fat needs. The nutrient values group of the combined working party on European food supplies (composed of representatives from the liberated areas as consultants) reported that 20 per cent. of the total calories obtained from a diet should come from fat and not less than half of this should come from “visible fat.” Thus, to provide 10 per cent. of 2,000 calories, which was the minimum target set by military authorities, to prevent disease and unrest in the urban civilian populations during the period of military operations would require just under 20 lbs. of fat from butter, margarine, shortening, lard and oils. (2) High Quality Protein Foods. This group includes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products other than butter, and (dried beans, peas, lentils, etc). Dairy products are measured, not in terms of the fluid content, but of the milk solids contained in them. Meats are the high quality protein foods for which the most urgent demands are expressed in the liberated countries, but some other foods, on a lb.‐for‐lb. basis, will provide equal or greater quantities of protein. About 20 grammes per day is commonly referred to as the minimum quantity of high quality protein on which a person can remain healthy over a considerable period; to reduce consumption below that amount in most countries means malnutrition. For purposes of estimating the minimum essential quantities of protein needed, the United Nations have made computations on the basis of 40 kilograms per head per year—or roughly 88 lbs. of quality protein foods. (3) Sugar. The need for sugar, a concentrated source of energy, seems to rest on both psychological and physiological importance. Food authorities state that curtailments of consumptions of the very low levels that prevail throughout the war in most countries cause particular inconvenience and create the acutest sense of deprivation. The United Nations food authorities, therefore, in computing the sugar needs of the liberated areas, have drawn up tables to show the imports needed to bring countries up to 22 lbs. per year, or to pre‐war levels if they were below 22 lbs. (4) Wheat. Wheat and other cereals must make up the calorie deficits remaining after the minimum supplies of fats and oils proteins and sugar have been provided in the diet. In most European nations, cereals have played a more dominant part in the average diet than has been true in the United States.


(1945), "British Food Journal Volume 47 Issue 10 1945", British Food Journal, Vol. 47 No. 10, pp. 89-98.




Copyright © 1945, MCB UP Limited

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