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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429912

Research Project: Food Composition Research and Database Expansion

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-52000-068-05-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2015
End Date: Sep 30, 2018

The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) is the authoritative, nationally and internationally recognized high-quality food composition database that provides the foundation for most food composition databases used in food policy, research, dietary practice, and nutrition monitoring world-wide. This analytical work will address the growing importance for more nationally-representative, accurate, and current information about the composition of foods that mirrors the diversity and fast-paced changes in the food environment, specifically commercially processed foods contributing to health and prevention of chronic diseases related to diet.

SR contains data for about 8,700 food items and up to 150 nutrients and food components. The food composition data are derived from USDA contracted analyses, the food industry, and scientific literature. Nationwide product sampling and analysis, collaborations with manufacturers, trade associations and agricultural scientists, under the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP) are used to improve the quality and quantity of analytical data in the USDA food composition databases since 1997. NFNAP employs a statistically valid sampling plan (Perry et al., 2000, 2003, and 2013) that is updated with each release of the United States Census. USDA analytical oversight and a comprehensive, multi-step quality control program are important features of NFNAP; specific aims of NFNAP are: a) Identify and prioritize foods and nutrients for analysis; b) Devise and implement a nationally-based sampling plan; c) Acquire and analyze food samples; d) Review, compile, and disseminate representative values.