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The food database
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Users can query the database to generate mean levels and ranges of nutritional components in various crop species. Environmental factors such as soil type and temperature can impact the levels of important nutrients in plants, and the moisture content can vary based on field conditions at harvest and when samples are handled. The database includes features that allow the user to retrieve a subset of data for samples produced in a specific year or location, and the analyte search filter can be applied to retrieve a pre-determined subset of data.
However, the analytical rigor required for data submitted to the ILSI-CCDB means that sample testing is expensive, and so it is not surprising that most data has been provided at no charge by the private sector, and for a very limited range of crops. The ILSI Research Foundation is committed to including data for other crop species, particularly of important staple foods.
For such data to become available, public sector breeding programs, as well as breeding programs run by small and medium private firms, must be able to submit data, but it is also essential to ensure that data for new crops are verifiable and robust. Resolving how to balance these imperatives remains a significant challenge.
The goal and objectives are to strengthening the development of national and regional food composition data FCD with high quality, adequate quantity and accessibility to the users. A number of proficiency testing schemes for laboratories were organised and few reference materials for food analysis were developed. The specific objectives of the first workshop, from December , were to develop a quality evaluation system draft guideline for assessing the quality of published national FCTs in ASEAN countries and to develop action plan for succeeding workshop and future activities.
The latter activity has commenced in Thailand, to be followed by Malaysia and Philippines. Recent activities are as follows: Malaysia continued with its new phase of compilation and documentation of the laboratory analyses of nutrients by participating institutions through a web-based system for data generators, data compilers and data users. New food data, focusing on indigenous fruits and vegetables, are being generated, compiled, checked and evaluated until the end of the 3rd quarter of Food composition data for new food items and missing data are being developed.
Many current and important public health challenges are linked to food and nutrition. The U. Central to accomplishing this task is tracking the nutritional status of Americans, and this requires knowledge of the composition of the food system. Although the USDA has maintained food composition records since the early twentieth century, the task today is greatly complicated by the volume and fluidity of the food supply. Today there are more than 25, food manufacturers in the US who produce more than 20, new food and beverage products each year.
The USDA Branded Food Products Database is seamlessly integrated into the existing USDA National Nutrient Database, and ensures that these data elements are publicly available to those who will utilize them, such as federal agencies, the research community, international databases, proprietary databases and end users, the food industry, and consumers. All data will be archived; historical data on food products will allow for tracking dietary trends. Different countries have FCDBs that are appropriate and relevant to the foods consumed in that setting.
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Since this has been updated several times, and the latest in the update is the 7th Summary Edition . This version provides comprehensive data on all food groups, and includes nutrient data for over 1, of the most commonly consumed foods in the UK. Similarly, other countries have their own FCDBs, with key information about them often available via the internet. In nutritional research, FCDBs are critical to convert reported food intakes into energy and nutrients.
It is important to understand their potential limitations. The potential sources of error in food composition values may be random or systematic, and all such errors add additional uncertainty to the calculated nutrient intakes . Limitations in the use of food composition databases can involve the following seven domains:. Food composition values represent the total amount of the constituent in the food, rather than the amount actually absorbed in the body.
As a consequence, the potential bioavailability of nutrients in the local diet should be considered when nutrient intake data are assessed. Foods exhibit natural variation in the amount of nutrients they contain The level of certain nutrients in some foodstuffs will not differ between countries, but for other nutrients, factors such as those listed below may affect nutrient content :. In addition, recipes for the same composite dish may vary both within and between countries, as might fortification practices e. For example, in contrast to many European countries, the selenium content of foods is higher in the United States and Canada due to the higher selenium levels in the soil, while levels are particularly low in New Zealand.
Ideally, each country should compile its own food composition database. Natural variation in nutrient contents also exists within food types:. The nutrient composition of meat products can vary greatly depending on the proportion of lean to fat tissue. The ratio between the two also affects levels of most other nutrients. Storage conditions can affect the water content of plant foods.
Changes in water content are associated with changes in all other constituents mainly as a result of changes in nutrient density. Trace elements are affected by husbandry conditions, soil composition and fertiliser use. The natural variation in nutrient content of cereal products e. However, as with other foods, fertiliser and soil type produce some variation in mineral content.
Different fortification practices in some countries markedly affect micronutrient levels such as B vitamins, folate, iron and calcium. For example:. The nutritional content of processed foods and composite dishes varies greatly. Processed foods change in formulation and production and the introduction of reduced-energy, saturated fat and salt versions of standard foods mean that databases need to be continuously updated. Common foods such as mayonnaise, muesli and sausages vary by brand and many supermarkets have introduced their own brands with different formulations and fortification levels.
Composite dishes show great variation mostly due to differences in recipes and actual cooking method. The number of dietary items e. It is unlikely that a database can be comprehensive for more than a short period. New foods are constantly introduced to the market and although modern databases can hold information on a large number of different foods, only a limited number of foods can be practically included in a database. Ideally, food composition databases should include complete data on all nutrients known or thought to be important to human nutrition.
However, this can rarely be achieved. Factors such as the availability of reliable analytical methods, the availability of existing data, health concerns in a given country and hence priorities given to certain nutrients as well as national and international labelling regulations are all determinants of the coverage of nutrients in a database. Nutrition values declared on food labels include a tolerable margin, and as such, using values obtained from food packaging may add a degree of error to the food composition databases.
Furthermore, some countries have different guidelines. In the UK the acceptable level of tolerance permitted for macronutrients decreases as the level of the macronutrient in a product increases see Table D. A number of variations in terminology and analysis between countries can result in different values for nutrients for the same food and hence total intakes.
Related Food Composition Data: Production, Management and Use
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