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10. Question: Who owns the intellectual rights to Sprinkles?
Answer: The intellectual property rights to Sprinkles are owned by Ped Med Ltd., a private incorporated company owned by Stanley Zlotkin. In 1998, The Hospital for Sick Children turned down the rights to the Sprinkles. Consequently, the rights were taken up by Dr. Zlotkin. Our group has an agreement with the H.J. Heinz company such that they will provide technical support, assist in the manufacture of Sprinkles from various manufacturing facilities around the world and produce the Sprinkles on a 'cost-recovery' basis for research and humanitarian purposes. This is a humanitarian effort by the Heinz company and is meant to aid us in large-scale manufacturing of the Sprinkles as part of large studies or programs. At some point in the future, Sprinkles may be produced commercially. At this time, Heinz will be offered the "right of first refusal" to develop, manufacture and market a fully commercial product with appropriate pricing and margin, to ensure consumer acceptance and commercial viability. Under these circumstances, at our discretion, and subject to agreement with the manufacturer, Ped Med Ltd. may receive a royalty for license of the Sprinkles technology. However, our goal is to ensure that a segment of the manufacturing of Sprinkles may still remain "at cost" to target vulnerable populations through non-governmental organizations or larger government organizations such as UNICEF and Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
11. Question: How long should Sprinkles be used? When should they be started?
Answer: The optimum duration of supplementation is yet to be determined. However, use of Sprinkles for a period of 6-months is most reasonable. We have seen increases in hemoglobin after two months of supplementation in our Ghana study, where 58% of anemic infants became non-anemic by the end of the intervention. In addition, all infants in the First Nations and Inuit study who were anemic became non-anemic after 3 months of supplementation with Sprinkles. It is not clear, however how long the intervention period should be. Therefore, we will be conducting studies to compare various durations of supplementation to determine the optimum intervention period.
The current recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) is that exclusive breastfeeding should last until 6 months of age. Sprinkles may be given once complementary foods are being given.
12. Question: Why were Sprinkles developed?
Answer: In 1996, a group of UNICEF consultants determined that the standard iron drops were not effective, as adherence to treatment remained poor. They called for a simple, inexpensive and potentially viable new method to provide micronutrients (including iron) to populations at risk (UNICEF-monograph). This was based on two observations from the 'West' where micronutrient deficiencies are rare; (a) fortification of commercially available food provides essential micronutrients and (b) no change in the color, texture or taste of the food ensures compliance.
Responding to the challenge, the Nutrition Research Group at The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, developed 'Supplefer' Sprinkles utilizing encapsulated micronutrients for adding directly to food, that is inexpensive to manufacture and distribute.
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13. Question: Can Sprinkles be used in emergency rations?
Answer: Sprinkles can be added to any semi-solid complementary food. Emergency rations tend to include corn-soy blend (CSB) or wheat-soy blend (WSB), two vehicles suitable for the addition of Sprinkles. Both these rations produce a thick paste-like substance after cooking, to which Sprinkles may be added after cooling to provide an additional source of micronutrients.
14. Question: Can Sprinkles be used by Muslims and Jews who follow traditional food practices?
Answer: No alcohol or pork products are used in the production of Sprinkles. They are therefore both Halal and Kosher and may be used as part of a traditional Muslim or Jewish diet.
15. Question: Can Sprinkles be used in infants younger than 6 months of age.
Answer: Sprinkles may be used in children under 6 months of age where complementary foods are being given. However, due to the WHO recommendation that infants be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age, we do not recommend using Sprinkles before 6 months in case it encourages caregivers to end exclusive breastfeeding before 6 months.
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What are Supplefer Sprinkles?
Strategies to treat and prevent iron deficiency
Methods of Supplementation