'SPAMMY' Helping Feed Kids in Central America

Created: 07/15/2014 7:07 PM
By: Justin Thompson-Gee

(ABC 6 News) -- Most of us are familiar with SPAM luncheon meat, but Hormel has had great success with SPAM’s little brother known as SPAMMY.

Hormel first introduced the world to SPAMMY at its stock holders meeting in 2011. Project SPAMMY was an initiative to save lives in Guatemala.

"The mortality amongst children is higher than anywhere else in the western hemisphere,” a promotional video from Hormel says.

New research from the USDA has now been released showing the effectiveness of SPAMMY.

"We found an improvement greater than expected in cognitive function, a reduction in school related absences due to illness and an improvement in nutrient status,” says Melissa Bonarden a senior scientist with Hormel.

“It’s not just hunger, it’s malnutrition so we were able to provide the right fortification levels to the product to help address that need,” said Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger in a previous ABC 6 News interview.

Overall, SPAMMY is drastically improving the way of life for children in Guatemala that consume it.

"The study really shows that SPAMMY’s making a difference in the everyday lives of children in Guatemala,” says Bonarden.

So what’s next for SPAMMY? Bonarden says, “we’re currently working with the USDA to have SPAMMY added to the food aid list so that it would have the opportunity to be distributed to other global locations.”

At this time the product is not able to help children in the United States because Hormel adds nutrients to SPAMMY during production, a process called fortification, “the USDA considers it not appropriate to fortify products such as meat and poultry in the United States,” says Bonarden.

ABC 6 News