Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Research Project #412698


Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
To identify and quantify the nutrient composition of representative food samples in order to improve and expand the USDA Nutrient Databases. The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to provide quality control, sample preparation and support for USDA-initiated laboratory contracts and other laboratory projects to improve the quality of data in the National Nutrient Data Bank.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) is responsible for developing and disseminating authoritative composition databases for foods in the U.S. diet. Foods for preparation and analysis will be selected on the following bases: 1.) Key Foods, i.e. those identified as contributing up to 75% of any one nutrient of public health significance; 2.) foods frequently used as ingredients; and 3.) foods containing components of emerging interest. NDL will develop sampling plans for each type of food sampled, to assure a representative sampling of the food supply. NDL will order samples of food to be delivered to the cooperator for weighing, dissecting for physical components, preparation (including cooking), packaging and shipment to specified analytical laboratories for nutrient analysis. In many cases, the cooperator will need to develop preparation, dissection and cooking protocols. The cooperator will establish procedures for the implementation of these steps and for inclusion of control materials or duplicate samples for quality control assurance. In addition, the agreement includes consultations with NDL and contract laboratories on issues of methodology, sample analysis, handling and storage. The cooperator will also offer expertise in experimental design and interpretation of results of the nutrient analyses.

3. Progress Report
In the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR), nutrient data on meats and poultry must be continuously updated due to changes in products in the marketplace. The U.S. food market has experienced increasing demands for prepared, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products leading to an increased availability of these types of products in retail food stores and fast food restaurants. In collaboration with scientists at Texas Tech University, beef and poultry products were sampled nationwide and prepared for analysis. As a result several poultry items were just released in SR-22. Additional documentation for weights and dissection of food components were also generated. The nutrient data in SR is often utilized with nationwide food consumption surveys and the results are used to determine program policies and regulatory decisions within other agencies of USDA (such as the Food Safety Inspection Service), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other government agencies. Project monitoring is primarily conducted through regular phone and e-mail communication.

4. Accomplishments