Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 9, 2007
Publication Date: November 20, 2007
Citation: Haytowitz, D.B., Pehrsson, P.R., Holden, J.M. 2007. The National Food and Analysis Program: A decade of progress. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 21(Supp. 1):S94-S102. Available: doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2007.07.006. Interpretive Summary: The National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) was designed by USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) in cooperation with various Institutes and Offices of the National Institutes of Health to expand the quantity and improve the quality of data in USDA food composition databases through the analysis of nationally representative samples of foods and beverages. This paper describes some of the findings from the NFNAP and its impact on the food composition databases produced by USDA. To meet the NFNAP goals, NDL designed a flexible and comprehensive infrastructure, employing procedures to evaluate existing data, prioritizing food and nutrients for analysis, developing probability-based sampling plans, analyzing sampled foods under USDA-supervised contracts along with a rigorous quality control program, and finally compiling and disseminating the results. A number of changes in nutrient content (increases and decreases) were observed in many high consumption foods, e.g., fat in fast food pizzas, trans fatty acids in margarine and spreads, and vitamin A in fruits and vegetables. These changes reflect sound strategies for sampling and analysis of representative food samples, which assure the reliability of nutrient estimates for Key Foods and subsequent assessments of nutrient intake. Since the inception of NFNAP in 1997, over 700 food items (nearly 48,000 nutrient values) in the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference have been updated or expanded using NFNAP data. A number of Special Interest Databases on various bioactive components in foods have also been released using NFNAP data. These data are available on NDL’s web site (www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata) to researchers in government, academia, and the food industry as well as to consumers who are increasingly interested in the content of the foods they eat.
Technical Abstract: The National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) was designed to expand the quantity and improve the quality of data in USDA food composition databases through the analysis of nationally representative samples of foods and beverages. This paper describes some of the findings from the NFNAP and its impact on the food composition databases produced by USDA. The NFNAP employs statistically valid sampling plans, comprehensive quality control, and USDA analytical oversight as part of the program to generate new analytical data for food components. USDA food consumption and composition data were used to target those foods that contribute nutrients of public health significance to the US diet (Key Foods). Foods were ranked using a scoring system, divided into quartiles, and reviewed to determine the impact of any changes in their composition. Foods were purchased from several types of locations, such as retail outlets and fast food restaurants in different geographic areas as determined by the sampling plan, then composited and sent to commercial labs and cooperators, along with quality control materials, for analysis. Comparisons were made to assess differences between current NFNAP means generated from original analytical data and historical means. Recently generated results for nationally representative samples show marked changes compared to database values for selected nutrients of unknown or non-representative sampling. A number of changes were observed in many high consumption foods: The vitamin A value for cooked carrots decreased from 1225 to 860 RAE/100g; the fat value for fast food French fried potatoes increased by 13% (17.06 vs. 14.80g/100g). Trans fatty acids in margarine have decreased as companies reformulate their products in response to the addition of trans fatty acids to the nutrition label. Values changed from 19.69 g/100 in 2002 to 14.78 g/100 in 2006 for 80%-fat stick margarines and 4.52 g/100 g for 80%-fat tub margarines. These changes reflect sound strategies for sampling and analysis of representative food samples, which assure the reliability of nutrient estimates for Key Foods and subsequent assessments of nutrient intake.