Version of USDA's Premier Nutrient Database Released
By Rosalie Marion
July 30, 2003
An updated version of the
Agricultural Research Service's flagship
nutrient database was launched today by ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief
scientific research agency. The database is the major authoritative source of
food composition in the United States.
This year, 447 new entries have been added to the "USDA National
Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 16," or
for short, for a total of 6,661 food items. The database is managed by ARS'
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center (BARC).
Each food item is shown with an information profile that provides data from
among 125 possible food components, such as vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
SR16 is available in a variety of formats, including a consumer-friendly,
downloadable version with a nifty search feature for both stand-alone and
The database includes both generic and brand-name food items. Information is
derived from a variety of rigorously evaluated sources, including
USDA-sponsored laboratory analyses, qualified food-industry data and available
Among many upgrades, values for individual carotenoids and for vitamin K
have been included for the first time. The carotenoids are a group of red,
yellow and orange pigments in fruits and vegetables that may impart beneficial
health effects. They include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin,
lycopene and lutein+zeaxanthin. The nutrient profiles for many raw fruits, as
well as raw and cooked vegetables, have been updated. And the reporting of
ready-to-eat breakfast cereals has undergone major updates.
The release also includes new analytical data for many retail meat cuts
trimmed to 1/8 inch of external fat, along with updated values for many cuts
trimmed of all external fat.
The ARS-BARC Nutrient Data Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., provides free
electronic access to SR16 online from its web site and via download onto
certain personal computers, hand-held digital assistants and laptops. SR16 also
will soon be available for purchase on CD-ROM.
To access SR16, go to: