Submitted to: American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2008
Publication Date: 10/25/2008
Citation: Thomas, R.G., Gebhardt, S.E., Nickle, M.S. 2008. Expansion of USDA’s food and nutrient databases to meet evolving needs. American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, October 25-28, 2008, Chicago, IL.
Technical Abstract: As the major source of food composition data in the United States, the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) is an important resource for nutrition professionals. SR evolved from its predecessor, Agriculture Handbook 8, Composition of Foods, which was available in hard copy. The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) has compiled and disseminated nutrient data electronically as SR annually since 1980, and the online searchable version of SR has been available since 1996. NDL added the ability to download the entire SR database into Microsoft Access in 2001 to enable professionals to create customized queries and reports. The SR search was developed for use on personal digital assistants (PDA) as a portable aid for nutrition professionals and consumers without easy access to computers or the Internet. Since its release in 2002, the PDA search has been downloaded about 1800 times/month. In 2003, to further extend the availability of SR, a version of the search program was released for personal computers to provide a faster, more convenient method of accessing SR without the Internet; this version is downloaded about 2800 times/month. These advances have greatly increased the availability of food composition information, as have recent releases of individual databases on flavonoids and choline in response to the needs of researchers studying dietary intakes of these newly emerging nutrients. In addition, NDL has expanded nutrient data for fast foods, ethnic foods, and meat groups as nutrition science, consumer trends, and the food industry have evolved.