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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 #436912

Research Project: Foundation Foods and Effect of Processing for FoodData Central

Location: Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-52000-068-002-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 31, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

One of the missions of the Methods and Applications of Food Composition Laboratory (MAFCL), is to provide leadership and promotes international cooperation in the development of authoritative nutrient databases, and research and state of the art methods to acquire, evaluate, compile and disseminate composition data on foods and dietary supplements available in the United States and research. These data have been used for decades as the foundational food composition database by the research community, policy makers, the food industry and consumers. With new technology and research demands, the new USDA FoodData Central (FDC) provides more targeted analytical data for key building blocks of the food supply. These data have been generated internally at the USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) and data received from the scientific community and food industry. The FoodData Central will be accompanied by metadata and tools to enable a better understanding of influential factors affecting nutrient data, their impact on accurately assessing food intake and health outcomes. FDC Foundation Foods data will be more readily accessible than previous databases, more analytically focused, and coordinated as a curation-based process; these foods will be agricultural commodity-level foods such as crops and animal breeds and staple foods such as breads. A rigorous quality control program, and data dissemination practices more accessible around the globe will be enacted. Historically, over 2,000 foods have been sampled nationally and analyzed for up to 150 components/nutrients; food-specific sampling designs will improve the variability data and exploration of emerging compounds of public health importance will be conducted. These data will be presented in USDA general food composition databases, special interest databases, and in publications. The objective of this project is to address major questions in food composition, namely the impact of commercial processing on harvested fruits and vegetables e.g., shipping, storage, canning, drying and freezing for more reliable estimates of assessment of food and nutrient intake. Objective 1. Determine the impact of industrial packaging methods (canning, freezing and drying) on the nutrients and bioactive compounds in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Industrial preservation and packaging methods, including canning, freezing and drying, lead to significant alteration of forms and/or contents of same nutrients and bioactive compounds in vegetables and fruits. Six commonly consumed vegetables and fruits in the US – potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn, spinach, apples, peaches and – are selected for this study based on their importance to American diet and feasibility of obtaining fresh products for sampling and processing. A two-step experimental design for sample collection within a two-year frame will be conducted.