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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of sample handling procedures for foods under USDA's National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program

Authors
item Trainer, Denise
item Pehrsson, Pamela
item Haytowitz, David
item Holden, Joanne
item Phillips, K - VPI
item Rasor, A - VPI
item Conley, N - VPI

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 22, 2010
Publication Date: December 15, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/47056
Citation: Trainer, D., Pehrsson, P.R., Haytowitz, D.B., Holden, J.M., Phillips, K.M., Rasor, A.S., Conley, N.A. 2010. Development of sample handling procedures for foods under USDA's National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 23(8):843-851.

Interpretive Summary: The National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) was implemented in 1997 to update and improve the quality of food composition data maintained in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. NFNAP was designed to sample and analyze frequently consumed foods in the U.S. food supply using statistically rigorous and nationally representative sampling plans and qualified analytical laboratories. Since the program began, over 1400 food items representing a wide variety of foods have been sampled. Careful handling of food samples from the time of acquisition to the time of analysis is critical to ensure the integrity of the samples and subsequent generation of accurate nutrient values. As the NFNAP infrastructure evolved, a systematic approach has been developed for collecting and handling a wide range of foods to optimize the stability of nutrients in various types of products. This paper describes the sample handling approaches, from the collection and receipt of the food items to the preparation of the analytical samples, with emphasis on the strategies developed for perishable products, fast foods, shelf-stable retail items and industrial food ingredients. Valuable insights regarding sample procurement, handling and shipping are described which should be of use to researchers designing a large-scale food composition analysis project.

Technical Abstract: The National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) was implemented in 1997 to update and improve the quality of food composition data maintained in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. NFNAP was designed to sample and analyze frequently consumed foods in the U.S. food supply using statistically rigorous and nationally representative sampling plans and qualified analytical laboratories. Careful handling of food samples from the time of acquisition to the time of analysis is critical to ensure the integrity of the samples and subsequent generation of accurate nutrient values. Since the origin of the NFNAP project, over 1400 food items representing a wide variety of foods have been sampled. The majority of these foods can be categorized into several major areas: 1) frozen foods; 2) fresh produce and/or highly perishable foods requiring refrigeration; 3) fast foods and prepared foods; 4) shelf stable foods; 5) specialized studies and non-retail (point of production) foods; and 6) foods from remote areas (e.g., American Indian reservations). Food sample handling and shipping strategies have been developed to account for the unique challenges of each of these groups. This paper describes the sample handling approaches, from the collection and receipt of the food items to the preparation of the analytical samples, with emphasis on the strategies developed for perishable products, fast foods, shelf-stable retail items, and industrial food ingredients.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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