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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Determine and monitor the nutritional composition of foods commonly consumed by Americans. Compile, maintain, and disseminate electronic food composition databases utilizing standardized approaches according to specified timelines. Objective 2: Evaluate and update existing food composition data for adequacy and completeness for nutrients of high public health concern and/or identified as potential nutritional adequacy concerns in the “What We Eat in America/NHANES” dietary survey, such as vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins K and D focusing on foods commonly consumed. Objective 3: Evaluate and update methods for food composition data acquisition, evaluation, compilation and dissemination of food composition data utilizing new, robust computer systems. Sub-Objective 3A: Expand methods for statistical sampling, sample handling, quality control, and data quality evaluation to ensure representative and accurate food composition estimates. Sub-objective 3B: Review, document and evaluate the existing method for estimating the nutrient content of processed, multi-ingredient foods. Sub-Objective 3C: Update existing food cooking yields and nutrient retention factors to reflect current food products, ingredients in formulations, and preparation procedures. Sub-objective 3D: Develop and modernize automated systems to electronically receive, evaluate, and compile food composition data from external sources and explore new methods for data dissemination. Objective 4: Investigate the variability of food composition data attributable to inherent food differences as well as analytical methodology.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)

3. Progress Report
This project supports the Nutrient Data Laboratory’s (NDL) research to develop accurate, unbiased, and representative food composition data for 7,534 foods and up to 143 nutrients and other bioactive dietary components. These data are used as the foundation of most other food composition databases and related applications in the U.S. and worldwide to monitor food and nutrient intake, to conduct human nutrition research, to label foods, and to develop nutrition policy. During 2009, NDL released the annual update of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR22) ( and its related subset of 2,900 foods and 65 components for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): What We Eat in America. Those data were generated by NDL through the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) or submitted by the food industry. NDL sampled and analyzed about 40 foods through qualified contractors and four USDA specific cooperative agreements. NDL also completed the development of the vitamin D database, a subset of SR22. The vitamin D database provides estimates for the foods for the NHANES. These data were required for the estimation of vitamin D intakes for the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 What We Eat in America Surveys by the Food Surveys Research Group (FSRG). The report of intake estimates was requested by and generated for the 2009 IOM Committee reviewing the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Calcium and vitamin D and by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee. NDL scientists continue to collaborate with both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Board to update beef and pork data, respectively, for many fresh cuts. As a result of the collaboration with the National Pork Board, NDL completed and disseminated new data for various ground pork products during 2009. The study determined the mathematical relationship between individual nutrients and fat content of raw ground pork using regression techniques. In collaboration with Texas Tech University, NDL determined the nutrient composition of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, using nationally representative samples of two types of chicken breast. Data have been generated for two SR items (Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, raw; and, Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, raw, enhanced).

4. Accomplishments
1. Release of the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR22). Nutrient data for foods and other dietary components are critical to the assessment of dietary intake and support the investigation of hypotheses concerning the relationship of dietary intake to health status. During 2009, NDL developed and released the annual update of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR22) ( and its related subset for the NHANES: What We Eat in America. SR22 contains data for 7,534 foods and up to 143 dietary components. New analytical data for about 70 foods were generated from the chemical analysis of sample units selected in a nationwide sampling program.

2. Recent interest in vitamin D status of humans stimulated the need to estimate vitamin D intake from foods and dietary supplements. Prior to 2009, vitamin D intake by respondents in the NHANES: What We Eat in America survey was not estimated. The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) initiated the vitamin D project in 2007 in collaboration with the Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory, various universities, and the Coca-Cola Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness to determine vitamin D in foods which are major contributors of vitamin D. The project was supported by USDA, NIH, and Coca-Cola. New data for vitamin D were added for 4,100 foods. Due to the rigorous evaluation of methods of analysis, USDA’s vitamin D data are recognized as the authoritative estimates for vitamin D in and have been and will be used by the Food Surveys Research Group to calculate the vitamin D intakes of the NHANES population for cycles 2005-2006 and 2007-2008. These intake estimates support the current scientific review of Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and calcium by an IOM Committee and will now be available for others evaluating vitamin D intake and it's relationship to biomarkers of disease.

5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
American Indians and Alaska Natives are at high risk for several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) continues to work on the development of the American Indian/Alaska Native Foods Database which is part of the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR). This database now includes approximately 200 subsistence (harvested, hunted, fished) foods and traditional mixed dishes consumed by Shoshone Bannock, Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Plains Indians, and Alaska Native tribes. During 2009, data for 5 foods were added. The data were generated with support from NIH and the Indian Health Service and through collaborations with tribes, other USDA researchers, local governments, regional health departments, and universities. Data were shared with the tribes that provided the samples. Latino immigrants are also at high risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. NDL continued to expand the database for nutrients in Latino foods which are important in the diets of this rapidly growing population segment. NDL efforts support the Hispanic Communities Health Study (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH) and the What We Eat in America survey, a component of NHANES. With the support of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NDL sampled and analyzed about 30 foods, representing four regional study centers and respective cultural groups in New York (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico), Miami (Cuba), Chicago (Mexico, Puerto Rico), San Diego and Minneapolis (both Mexico). During 2009 analytical values generated for those foods were migrated into SR, thus available for use in assessing dietary intake of Latino groups and health status.

Review Publications
Combs, G.F., Midthune, D.N., Patterson, K.K., Canfield, W.K., Hill, A.D., Levander, O.A., Taylor, P.R., Moler, J.E., Patterson, B.H. 2009. Effects of Selenomethionine Supplementation on Selenium Status and Thyroid Hormone Concentrations in Healthy Adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 89(6):1808-1814.

Guerrero, R., Gebhardt, S.E., Holden, J.M., Kretsch, M., Todd, K., Novotny, R., Murphy, S. 2009. White rice sold in Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan often lacks nutrient enrichment. Journal of American Dietetic Association. 109(10):1738:1743.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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