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close this bookFood, Nutrition and Agriculture - 12 - Food Composition Data (FAO - FPND - FAO, 1994)
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View the documentEditorial
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Open this folder and view contentsSampling strategies to assure representative values in food composition data
Open this folder and view contentsFood composition databases: Current problems and solutions
Open this folder and view contentsImproving food composition data through training
Open this folder and view contentsFood composition information: the food industry’s perspective
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(introduction...)

12/1994

ALIMENTATION, NUTRITION ET AGRICULTURE
Donn sur la composition des aliments

ALIMENTACION, NUTRICION Y AGRICULTURA
Datos sobre composicie alimentos

Editorial

As global trade and new technologies bring a greater variety of foods to the market, and as public awareness and interest in the contribution of good diets to health are stimulated by research, good-quality data about the composition of foods are in increasing demand. Reliable, sufficiently detailed data are essential for food and nutrition science, dietetics, food manufacturing and labelling, ensuring of food quality and safety and consumer education, yet this basic information is frequently not available or is considered inadequate by today’s standards.

In this issue of Food, Nutrition and Agriculture, the authors describe the many ways in which the public and private sectors use food composition tables and databases. The need to improve the quality of these resources through better training and analytical and sampling techniques is stressed. Initiatives to enhance the compatibility of databases are described as well. Appreciative of the financial burden presented by food analysis, the authors identify priorities and advocate the sharing of expertise and information.

Recognizing the need to enhance the quality and increase the quantity of food composition data, FAO has reinstituted its food composition work, focusing on strengthening national efforts to produce such information. Together with the United Nations University, FAO is also promoting the creation of regional networks to facilitate cooperation in food composition work. With this issue of Food, Nutrition and Agriculture, readers are informed of the strategies and techniques being used to fulfil the requirements for information about food composition throughout the world.

A mesure que les anges internationaux et les nouvelles technologies mettent sur le marchne plus vaste gamme de produits alimentaires et que, gr a recherche, le grand public a une meilleure connaissance et plus d’intt pour la contribution de bons rmes alimentaires a santla demande de donn de bonne qualitur la composition des aliments augmente: avoir des donn fiables et suffisamment dill est essentiel pour les sciences de l’alimentation et de la nutrition, la ditique, la fabrication et l’quetage des produits alimentaires, la qualitt l’innocuites aliments et l’cation des consommateurs; pourtant cette information fondamentale n’est souvent pas disponible, ou est conside comme inadate compte tenu des normes actuelles.

Dans le prnt num d’Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture, les auteurs divent les nombreuses fas dont les secteurs public et privtilisent les tables et bases de donn sur la composition des aliments. Ils soulignent la nssit’amorer la qualite ces ressources gr ne meilleure formation et au perfectionnement des techniques d’analyse et d’antillonnage, et divent les initiatives visant endre les bases de donn plus compatibles, Conscients des charges financis que reprnte l’analyse des aliments, les auteurs dnissent des prioritet recommandent les anges d’expertise et d’information.

Reconnaissant la nssit’amorer la qualitt d’augmenter la quantites donn sur la composition des aliments, la FAO a repris ses travaux dans ce domaine, en les axant sur le renforcement des efforts nationaux visant roduire ce type d’information. En collaboration avec l’Universites Nations Unies, la FAO favorise aussi la crion de raux ronaux visant aciliter la cooption pour les travaux sur la composition des aliments, Dans ce num d’Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture, les lecteurs sont informdes strates et techniques actuellement utilis pour rndre aux besoins d’informations sur la composition des aliments dans le monde entier.

A medida que el comercio mundial y las nuevas tecnolog aportan al mercado una mayor variedad de alimentos y que la investigacistimula la sensibilizaci interde la opinia por la contribucie una buena dieta al estado de salud, aumenta la demanda de datos de buena calidad sobre la composicie los alimentos. La disponibilidad de datos fiables y suficientemente detallados es esencial para la ciencia de la alimentaci la nutricila dietca, la fabricaci etiquetado de alimentos, la garantde la calidad e inocuidad de os y la educacie los consumidores, pero a menudo esta informacica no existe o es insuficiente si se la juzga por criterios actuales.

En el presente n de AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura, los autores describen los muchos modos en que los sectores po y privado utilizan los cuadros y bases de datos sobre composicie alimentos, y subrayan la necesidad de mejorar la calidad de estos recursos perfeccionando las ticas de capacitaciansis y muestreo, Tambidescriben iniciativas para potenciar la compatibilidad entre bases de datos. Conscientes de que el ansis de los alimentos supone una carga financiera, los autores establecen las prioridades y preconizan el intercambio de experiencias e informaci

Reconociendo la necesidad de mejorar la calidad e incrementar la cantidad de los datos sobre composicie alimentos, la FAO ha reorientado sus actividades en este ito, centrolas en el fortalecimiento de los esfuerzos nacionales para obtener esa informaciLa FAO estromoviendo tambi junto con la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas, la creacie redes regionales que faciliten la cooperacin actividades relacionadas con la composicie los alimentos. En este n de AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura se informa a los lectores de las estrategias y ticas que se utilizan para cumplir los requisitos relativos a la informaciobre composicie alimentos en todo el mundo.

Technical Editor/Rctrice technique/Redactora tica
J.L. Albert

Language Editors/Rcteurs/Redactores
A. Perlis, N. Roland, F. Servan L.

Layout Editor/Mise en page/CompaginaciR>M. Criscuolo

Editorial Advisory Board/Comite rction/Comitsesor editorial
J.R. Lupien, K. Richmond, A. Randell, M. Papetti, J.P. Cotier, A. Ghazali, R. Dawson

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Three issues are published annually with articles in English, French and Spanish. Free subscriptions may be obtained from the Technical Editor, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Unless specifically copyrighted, articles and photographs may be reprinted. Two copies should be sent to the Technical Editor and acknowledgement should be as follows: “reprinted from the FAO journal Food, Nutrition and Agriculture”. Ideas expressed in signed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of FAO. Mention of any firm or licensed process does not imply endorsement by FAO. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this periodical do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

La revue Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture est publipar l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO). Elle paratrois fois par an et contient des articles en frans, en anglais et en espagnol. Des abonnements gratuits peuvent e obtenus auprdu rcteur technique, Division de l’alimentation et de la nutrition, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome (Italie). Sauf indication de droits rrv les articles et photographies peuvent e reproduits ondition de porter la mention: «Repris de la revue Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture, FAO». Pri d’envoyer deux exemplaires de toute reproduction au rcteur technique. Les articles signexpriment les opinions de leurs auteurs et ne reflnt pas nssairement celles de la FAO. La mention de toute soci ou tout proc brevete sous-entend pas l’approbation de la FAO. Les appellations employ dans cette publication et la prntation des donn qui y figurent n’impliquent de la part de la FAO aucune prise de position quant au statut juridique des pays, territoires, villes ou zones, ou de leurs autorit ni quant au trace leurs frontis ou limites.

AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura es una publicacie la Organizacie las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la AlimentaciFAO). Se publica tres veces al a contiene artlos en ingl francy espa La suscripciratuita a la revista podrolicitarse al Redactor tico, Direccie Alimentaci NutriciFAO, Via le delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Roma, Italia. Salvo que se indique la reserva de los derechos de autor, los artlos y las fotograf podrreproducirse siempre y cuando se declare lo siguiente: «reproducido de la revista AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura, FAO». Se ruega enviar dos ejemplares del texto reproducido al Redactor tico. Las ideas expresadas en los artlos firmados son de sus autores y no reflejan necesariamente la opinie la FAO. La mencie cualquier empresa o procedimiento autorizado no implica aprobacior parte de la FAO. Las denominaciones empleadas y la forma en que aparecen presentados los datos no implican, de parte de la FAO, juicio alguno sobre la condiciurca de pas, territorios, ciudades o zonas, o de sus autoridades, ni respecto de la delimitacie sus fronteras o ltes.

(introduction...)

J.R. Lupien

John R. Lupien is the Director of the Food and Nutrition Division, FAO.

Over the past few years, a number of events and influences have re-emphasized the importance of food composition work. The December 1992 International Conference on Nutrition (ICN) called for increased attention to improved nutrition and examined this topic in a broad way, considering improved food production, processing, marketing and, most importantly, access for all to adequate supplies of food that is safe and of good quality. The ICN emphasized improved policies and programmes for food, nutrition, health care and education, From the operational point of view, the ICN, through the World Declaration on Nutrition and the Plan of Action for Nutrition endorsed by the 159 participating nations, called for each country to prepare comprehensive national plans of action for nutrition, which are to include the strengthening of food composition work.

Furthermore, the need for food composition information has grown as a result of new legislation in the developed countries requiring that foods have accurate nutrition labelling as well as the recognition by the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of the international standards of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission as the benchmark for foods in international trade, In addition, consumers in all countries want more detailed information about raw and processed purchased foods. Food composition information also continues to serve traditional uses in schools and institutional feeding programmes as well as in food technology and nutrition programmes.

At the international level, FAO has a long and successful history of producing and disseminating food composition tables and related information. FAO started its activities in this field in the late 1940s; its first food composition table was published in 1949. In the 1960s and 1970s, FAO prepared regional food composition tables for Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Near East, After this popular series of publications was completed in the late 1970s, FAO reduced its work in this area, In the 1980s, the United Nations University (UNU) responded to interest in further work on food composition by establishing the International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS).

COLLABORATION

Because of the recent re-emphasis on food composition, FAO and UNU have agreed that joint work is needed to provide more accurate food composition data, Their collaborative efforts will involve additional analysis of foods in different parts of the world or more extensive sharing of existing, validated data.

Because of the nature and complexity of work in food composition, collaboration among different institutions and sectors is necessary, Government budgets have been diminishing, and most departments are no longer in a position to finance large amounts of detailed chemical analysis to build new nutrient composition databases, The demands for new analyses place especially heavy burdens on developing countries, where budget constraints are particularly acute, In FAO’s view, strengthened collaborative work presents an opportunity to reduce the costs of providing food composition data which will serve the needs of all developing countries.

COSTS AND BENEFITS

It is essential to examine the production of new food composition data from the perspective of value for money. When a food composition evaluation programme is envisaged, the specific use of any new data that will be generated, together with the costs of achieving the required quality of data, should be clearly understood and evaluated. More detailed content description of a food does not always mean better work or output, and it must be certain that the costs will be balanced by the benefits and needs so that the scarce resources available are utilized effectively. Only the food composition information that is strictly needed to undertake the required activities should be obtained so as to keep costs to the minimum level.

This does not mean that the need for achieving greater precision in food composition data should be ignored, Food composition data need to be accurate enough to avoid mistakes in carrying out interventions and precise enough to ensure that the data do not adversely affect policy decisions.

Improvements in the precision of analytical methods over the last 20 years have been dramatic, often leading to questions about the accuracy and validity of previous analytical results. Given the importance now accorded to food composition data, reanalyses of foods are justified when new procedures and methods can be used to obtain more precise values, The choice of foods to be analysed and the sampling plan to be used should be judged carefully in relation to the manner in which the data will be used, based on current and desirable local dietary patterns.

FAO’S APPROACH

The need for better access to reliable, representative data and the realization that international cooperation could facilitate their generation and ensure their compatibility were the key issues of an FAO/UNU meeting on food composition work held in Tunisia in March 1994, The participants, representing governments, academia, industry and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), expressed a strong consensus on the need for a network of institutions involved in or collaborating on food composition work. They fully endorsed the possible collaboration between FAO and UNU in view of the need to stimulate the development of new programmes on food composition.

The general consensus reached at the meeting was that the current framework developed for cooperation at national, regional and international levels was adequate. In particular, the regional orientation of collaborative work was seen as an appropriate context for future activities. FAO will dedicate particular effort to activities promoting inter- and intraregional cooperation, including the establishment of food composition networks, Although FAO strongly believes in such cooperation, it must be based on effective national capacities in the long term, A primary objective of FAO efforts will be to strengthen national capacities by stimulating the establishment of national food composition programmes in different developing countries.

Linkages to food control programmes

The renewal of FAO’s food composition work will be linked to the Organization’s ongoing activities aimed at strengthening food control systems, including the improvement of food analysis capabilities and laboratory facilities. In this area FAO has provided significant levels of technical assistance. For example, since 1986 the Organization has provided over US$7 million in technical and financial assistance for improvement of the facilities and analytical capacity required for food control activities in 20 countries in Africa. Much of this capacity can be utilized for food composition work, In general, considerable benefit can be gained from linking support for food composition activities to overall efforts to strengthen the analytical component of national food control systems, particularly where human and material resources are limited. FAO will continue to look for ways to provide support that can be mutually beneficial for food composition and food control activities.

Information

In the effort to improve food control systems, FAO has produced a range of technical manuals and documents covering most aspects of food control and laboratory analysis of foods, Similar manuals, covering, for example, sampling and sample handling, recommended analytical procedures and equipment and data quality assurance, are also envisaged to support food composition work.

OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY

FAO’s basic objective is to generate, disseminate and promote the use of good food composition information by a wide range of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in both the public and private sectors. To allow countries to achieve this objective, FAO will concentrate in the coming years on the following work:

· promotion and expansion of activities at national, regional and international centres to enhance national and regional capacity to generate, manage and disseminate food composition information in a timely manner;

· assistance in the formulation of standards for terminology for the identification of food and nutrients, sampling procedures for food, requirements for handling food samples, analytical methodology and criteria for assessment of data to make the network data more compatible across regions;

· promotion of the dissnation and appropriate use of food composition data;

· strengthening and capacity-building, through training, of institutions and individuals involved with all aspects of food composition work.

At the international level, increased coordination and standardization are absolutely necessary to harmonize the different systems dealing with food composition data and thus to improve access to the data, Compatibility of databases is also essential to reduce the expenditure associated with generating and maintaining composition data on a global basis and to assist the developing countries in lessening the costs of producing reliable food composition data, FAO/UNU work can provide the framework for the coordination of activities that is essential to ensure comparability of data for the many users in different countries and types of institutions.

FAO/UNU cooperation in this area is important because:

· FAO’s mandate spans all sectors related to food at the international level, including those pertaining to food quality, food trade and food composition;

· FAO has a broad international mandate encompassing food-related development issues that require food composition data;

· FAO has an established system of communication with national governments to promote food composition activities and regional cooperation at government level;

· FAO has published food composition data for use in developing countries, and these publications had wide circulation for several decades;

· FAO is well placed to shape actions on interdisciplinary problems that require an open forum for solution.

The strategy that FAO envisages to initiate a network relies on a regional model for action, which allows local control of food composition activities and promotes direct working relationships among institutions in developing countries.

The regional model does not imply that FAO will allocate resources to maintain a central food composition database, A large global database of the complexity and quality demanded by users would require far more resources than national and regional compilations, but would provide little or no additional returns in terms of effectiveness.

The network is seen as a dynamic system of generating and handling food composition data, It will perform functions such as:

· generating and distributing revisions of data on food composition due to changes in product formulation, food processing techniques, food varieties, production systems, improvements in analytical techniques, etc.;

· formulating and updating standards and procedures for specifying the minimum quality criteria required for food composition data;

· maintaining a structure of committees of government and institutional representatives that will recommend standards, procedures and work priorities.

How will FAO stimulate and support the activities of institutions and national governments and perform its coordinating role? First, FAO will organize regional workshops to discuss food composition issues and will promote activities with selected institutions from different countries to start building regional networks of collaborating institutions. In 1995, workshops on technical issues related to food composition are scheduled in Eastern Europe, French-speaking Africa, Asia and Latin America, The workshops will help countries in these regions to identify their food composition information needs.

A workshop was organized in September 1994 in Accra, Ghana, to discuss the needs of English-speaking African countries and to develop and set up national food composition activities in the region, The main problems identified at the Accra meeting were associated with inadequate laboratory facilities, lack of trained personnel and lack of funds. Also, the insufficient technological capability for operation of food composition databases was emphasized. Another major concern voiced was the insufficient awareness of decision-makers regarding the importance of food composition data. In many Instances, this is the main reason for the lack of policies and financial support.

As noted earlier, FAO intends to produce material to assist in data generation and management, A set of guidelines for developing and managing a national food composition programme is being prepared and will illustrate all the necessary steps and components needed for the establishment and running of a food composition programme. Other guidelines on more specific topics, such as laboratory design, sampling and training, are also envisaged and will be developed according to needs identified during the regional workshops held this year.

The issue of standardization to facilitate the exchange of food composition data among countries, at the regional as well as global levels, will need to be addressed in collaboration with INFOODS and others that have developed systems that are operational. Increased cooperation will be required to select appropriate systems that allow maximum efficiency for data management at the lowest cost possible.

L’initiative de la FAO dans le domaine de la composition des aliments

Dans le passla FAO produisait des tables de composition des aliments pour l’Asie, l’Afrique, l’Amque latine et le Proche-Orient, qui ient largement diffus. Rmment, la Confnce internationale sur la nutrition, les exigences en mati d’indications nutritionnelles pour l’quetage et la plus grande uniformisation des rements commerciaux ont rendu indispensable la production de donn nouvelles, claires et exactes sur la composition des aliments, De plus en plus, les nutritionnistes, les diticiens, les industries et les gouvernements ont besoin d’avoir un meilleur acces renseignements fiables et reprntatifs sur la composition des aliments.

Malgrela, les budgets rits des gouvernements ne leur permettent pas de dnser des sommes importantes pour procr es analyses chimiques dill afin de constituer des bases de donn sur la composition des aliments en ments nutritifs. Lors d’une rion tenue en Tunisie en 1994, la FAO et l’Universites Nations Unies sont convenues que la cooption internationale pourrait faciliter l’analyse des aliments dans diffntes rons. Une telle cooption pourrait encourager une vaste mise en commun des donn valables existantes et assurer leur compatibilitce qui allrait les coarticuliment lourds pour les pays en dloppement.

La strate de la FAO envisage la crion de raux fonctionnant selon un mod ronal. L’efficacite ces raux dndra du renforcement des capacitdes programmes nationaux en mati de composition des aliments, des dispositifs de communication disponibles, et des procres de contrde qualitL’objectif de la FAO est d’obtenir, de diffuser et de promouvoir une information de bonne qualitur la composition des aliments dans les secteurs public et privPour donner de bons rltats, une strate visant morer les bases de donn sur la composition des aliments devra comprendre un ensemble de systs de collecte, de traitement et de diffusion des informations.

La iniciativa de la FAO en materia de composición de alimentos

En pasado, la FAO produjo y difundipliamente cuadros de composicie alimentos para Asia, Africa, America Latina y el Cercano Oriente. Ultimamente, la Conferencia Internacional sobre Nutricilos requisitos relativos al etiquetado nutricional y una reglamentaciomercial muniforme han hecho necesarios nuevos datos claros y precisos sobre composicie alimentos. Especialistas en nutrici dietca, industrias y gobiernos necesitan cada vez mun acceso mejor a informaciiable y representativa sobre composicie alimentos.

A pesar de estas necesidades, el reducido presupuesto de los gobiernos no permite efectuar grandes gastos en un ansis quco detallado con el fin de construir bases de datos sobre composicie nutrientes. En una reunielebrada en Ten 1994, la FAO y la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas convinieron en que la cooperacinternacional podrfacilitar el ansis de los alimentos en diferentes regiones. Esta cooperaciodrimpulsar el intercambio generalizado de los datos vdos existentes y asegurar su compatibilidad, lo que reducirla carga financiera, que es especialmente pesada para los pas en desarrollo.

La estrategia de la FAO preva creacie redes basadas en un modelo regional de actuaciLa eficacia de estas redes dependere que se fortalezcan la capacidad de los programas nacionales sobre composicie alimentos, las disposiciones relativas a una comunicacidecuada y los procedimientos de control de la calidad. El objetivo de la FAO es elaborar, difundir y promover informacie buena calidad sobre composicie los alimentos en los sectores po y privado. Una estrategia acertada para mejorar las bases de datos sobre composicie alimentos requerirna combinacie sistemas de acopio, tratamiento y divulgacie la informaci

(introduction...)

N.S. Scrimshaw

Nevin S. Scrimshaw is the Director of the Food and Nutrition Programme for Human and Social Development, United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo, Japan.

Reliable data on the nutrient composition of foods for human consumption are critical for many areas of endeavour including health assessment, the formulation of appropriate institutional and therapeutic diets, nutrition education, food and nutrition training, epidemiological research on relationships between diet and disease, plant breeding, nutrition labelling, food regulation and consumer protection, as well as for a variety of applications in agriculture, trade, research, development and assistance.

EARLY INTERNATIONAL WORK ON FOOD COMPOSITION

In 1961, a regional food composition table was published which was developed for Latin America by the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) with the help of a consultant, Dr Wu Leung, provided by the International Committee on Nutrition for National Development (ICNND) in the United States (Wu Leung and Flores, 1961). FAO then arranged for Dr Wu to develop food composition tables for Africa (Wu Leung, 1968) and Asia (Wu Leung et al., 1972). Around the same time, food composition tables for use in the Near East were developed and published by the American University of Beirut (Pellett and Shadarevian, 1970).

The data in these tables were often based on a very limited number of samples or even on a single sample in some cases. The tables provided data for fewer nutrients than are required in tables today. Finally, some of the analytical methodologies used at that time are no longer acceptable, Despite their serious inadequacies, these regional tables are still being used because often no more up-to-date information is available, While the amount, quality and availability of the food composition data vary among countries and regions, in general adequate data are simply not accessible for most developing countries.

PURPOSE OF INFOODS

These circumstances led an international group of concerned individuals to obtain the support of the United Nations University (UNU) to organize a conference at the Rockefeller Foundation Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy in 1983. The meeting developed plans for an international initiative to improve the quantity, quality and availability of food composition data in developing countries (Rand and Young, 1983, 1984). On the basis of the recommendations of the conference, the International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS) was initiated in 1984 as part of UNU’s Food and Nutrition Programme, Its goal was to stimulate and coordinate efforts to improve the quality and availability of food composition data worldwide and to ensure that anyone around the globe would be able to obtain adequate and reliable food composition data.

In furtherance of these purposes INFOODS has provided leadership and an administrative framework for the development of standards and guidelines for the collection, compilation and reporting of food component data. It is establishing and coordinating a global network of regional data centres directed towards the generation, storage and dissnation of accurate and complete data on food composition. It is also the generator and repository of special international databases and serves as a general and specific resource for persons and organizations interested in food composition data on a worldwide basis, The INFOODS secretariat has developed the necessary software for the electronic storage of food composition data and the exchange of information among databases.

The INFOODS effort is intrinsically interdisciplinary, Food scientists, analytical chemists and nutritionists work together with computer and information scientists, who are doing new work on data interchange models, statistical and scientific databases, data descriptions and models of information retrieval and classification, A new UNU/FAO-sponsored IUNS committee is developing quality codes to be applied to all food composition database entries to guide users. It is anticipated that the code will Indicate, for each food entry, the representativeness of the sample, the adequacy of the documentation and the quality of the analytical technique.

INFOODS policy committee meetings were held in Madrid, Spain in 1984 and in Budapest, Hungary in 1986, At these meetings the functioning and responsibilities of regional committees were discussed in depth and the long-range goals and strategies established at the Bellagio meeting were reaffirmed. INFOODS symposia or workshops have been held at the periodic regional nutrition meetings in Africa, Latin America and Asia and at the last two international nutrition congresses.

Publications

Through UNU-sponsored International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) committees, INFOODS has been able to ensure the completion of a series of key publications. The first, Food composition data: a user’s perspective (Rand et al,, 1987), presents the views and experiences of prominent workers in the field concerning the importance of food composition data, current problems and what must be done to improve the situation. It provides an essential introduction and survey for anyone interested in or expecting to be involved with gathering, compiling and using food composition data. It emphasizes the ways in which food composition data underpin research and policy in important areas of public health, dietetics, nutrition and epidemiology as well as the critical importance of such data for the food industry and the key decisions made by bilateral and international assistance agencies, It is a useful reference for university courses on food and nutrition.

Food composition data have been compiled in many databases throughout the world, As the uses of these data increase, larger numbers of individuals and organizations become involved in the compilation, and thus the need for guidelines on data gathering, formatting and documentation increases. Compiling data for food composition data bases (Rand et al., 1991) describes and presents recommendations for the procedures involved with compiling the values for food composition databases. Specifically, it addresses the five major ways to obtain data on the nutrient content of foods: direct analysis based on analytical measurements; calculation of representative values (e.g. using weighted means of several samples);

gathering from other sources (e.g. from other tables or the literature); estimation from similar foods (e.g. substitution of data); and estimation from ingredients (e.g. recipe calculations).

The effective use of food composition data requires the precise identification of the nutrients and other food components actually measured. The variety of common names for food components can result in different quantitative values for the same food, Identification of food components for data interchange (Klensin et al., 1989) provides the first comprehensive standardization of food component nomenclature for international nutrient data exchange, It sets out a straightforward set of rules for identifying food components precisely and constructing databases suitable for transfer between computers.

The INFOODS food composition data interchange handbook (Klensin, 1992) focuses on the identification of nutrient and non-nutrient components of foods, the computer representation of food composition data and the organization, compilation and content of food composition tables and databases. It presents the structure and rules for moving data between countries and regional organizations in a way that preserves all of the available information, The publication also alerts the developer of databases to potential areas in which ambiguities are likely and special care should be taken. It identifies mechanisms for the improvement of overall database quality.

Food composition data: production, management and use (Greenfield and Southgate, 1992), produced with support from UNU, is an updated version of Southgate’s classic manual, This revised volume systematically and authoritatively covers the initiation and organization of a food composition data programme. Topics include the selection of foods, sampling, choice of analytical methods, quality control, conventions and modes of expression of data, nutrients to include and guidelines for use, It is an essential companion to the other INFOODS manuals described above.

A report outlining INFOODS guidelines for describing foods, developed by a UNU-IUNS committee, was reviewed at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in July 1987 and later published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (Truswell et al,, 1991), The report is based on extensive international consultations and is intended to be culture independent, The guidelines are designed to facilitate the exchange of food composition data between nations and cultures by compilers of nutrient databases, The approach is a broad, multifaceted and open-ended description mechanism using a series of descriptors. Criteria are proposed for deciding whether a food is “single” or “mixed” (multi-ingredient), and different sets of descriptors are provided for these two classes of foods. Familiarity with the approach is useful in other areas of nutrition, for example, in recording food intakes. Because of the complexity of describing foods when many different languages and cultures are involved, these guidelines are being re-examined by a new UNU-IUNS committee.

There are currently more than 200 national, regional and global food composition tables in use around the world that contain some unique data. INFOODS maintains an up-to-date computerized listing of these tables, the Directory of food composition data bases. It is available in whole or in part at cost through electronic mail or regular postal services.

In 1987 the United Nations University established the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, copublished by Academic Press. The journal covers all scientific aspects pertaining to chemical composition of human foods, with emphasis on analytical methods for obtaining data, data on composition of particular foods and studies on the manipulation, identification, statistics, storage, distribution and use of food composition data.

The network also publishes the INFOODS Newsletter, which is sent periodically to all interested persons on a worldwide mailing list.

INFOODS recommendations

The key to the interchangeability and accessibility of the INFOODS system in developing countries is the universal use of the recommended specifications for recording and presenting food composition data. These specifications are quite flexible and permit the inclusion of any number of additional nutrient tags and qualifiers, Adoption of these specifications for databases in industrialized countries as well should greatly facilitate the global interchange of data, The recent decision to use them for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food composition tables is a major advance, Even more important is the endorsement of these specifications by FAO as an international standard.

INFOODS and other systems

From its inception the INFOODS system has had the capacity to incorporate codings from other food coding and data systems, such as the Langual system developed by the United States Food and Drug Administration, However, an investigation carried out jointly by INFOODS and EUROFOODS (the regional INFOODS organization for Europe) strongly suggested that the level of classification implied by Langual is not currently applicable to most countries, although it is potentially valuable for specific applications in a few advanced countries.

An interchange conversion programme has been developed that reads or writes files in either the format used by INFOODS or those used by the United States, United Kingdom and others (Klensin, 1992), The efficiency of the system will be greatly enhanced by the universal adoption of the INFOODS nutrient identification tags. While the tags have been published (Klensin et al.. 1989), they are being continually amplified as new needs develop. The nutrient tag directory is maintained by the INFOODS secretariat in Palmerston North, New Zealand and is available at all times by electronic mail, Qualified users can register new tags that they have found necessary.

A single food composition database?

INFOODS continues to receive proposals for the promotion of a consolidated world food composition database in a central location. The original Bellagio meeting and all subsequent consultations deemed such consolidation to be technically, scientifically and politically inappropriate.

Continual updating of a global database would involve unfeasible demands on personnel and communications and is quite unnecessary when data from regional databases can be compiled electronically for any purpose, Any organization can access and retrieve information from any INFOODS regional database worldwide. Continual updating as new data become available is much more feasible as a regional task. Moreover, it gives the countries of a region direct responsibility for their own data.

REGIONAL INFOODS ORGANIZATIONS

EUROFOODS was the first of the regional associations (West, 1985), followed by ASEANFOODS for a grouping of Southeast Asian countries (Rand et al.. 1985), OCEANIAFOODS for the countries of the western Pacific (English and Lester, 1987) and LATINFOODS for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (Bressani, 1987).

Funds from UNU in 1992 allowed for the purchase of high-capacity computers for ASEANFOODS and OCEANIAFOODS and for training in their use, A 1993 grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada provided similar support for LATINFOODS, including computers for subregional databases in Guatemala and Chile as well as the requisite training. The regional databases of ASEANFOODS in Thailand and LATINFOODS in Guatemala are now functional, and those of LATINFOODS in Chile and of OCEANIAFOODS in Fiji are expected to be operational by 1995.

In Latin America most countries have formed their own food composition committees; the most active groups are ARGENTINAFOODS, BOLIVIAFOODS, BRAZILFOODS, CHILEFOODS and VENEZUELAFOODS. Ricardo Bressani, the chairman of LATINFOODS, has developed a standard form for recording sample information and analytical data, which all member countries have agreed to follow. He also initiated an exchange of comparison food samples for quality control. Five regional LATINFOODS meetings have been held, A new Central American food composition table has been completed, and INCAP and the Institution of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), working jointly, are expected to complete a new Latin American food composition table in 1995.

Countries participating in ASEANFOODS are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam are associate members, Current activities of this locally initiated network include the development of a sampling guideline for food composition table development, which will be formulated and distributed to the national coordinators for comment. The analytical methods used in ASEAN are documented; this is essential to ensure standardization of methodologies. The method of testing used by ASEANFOODS provides for the analysis of standard samples for quality control by the laboratories in the region, An operating manual for the use of the ASEANFOODS database and interchange system based on recommended INFOODS procedures has been adopted.

The task ahead is to complete the INFOODS global network in developing countries. A preliminary meeting to discuss the organization of AFROFOODS for Africa south of the Sahara was held in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1988. Funds from IDRC made possible another organizational meeting in September 1994, Subregional databases were agreed upon for English-speaking East Africa in Harare, for English-speaking West Africa in Accra, Ghana and for French-speaking Africa, probably in Dakar, Senegal, Initially, the coordinating secretariat will be in Harare. It was also agreed that a regional centre would be established in Tunis, Tunisia for NAFOODS, for the five countries of North Africa.

More regional databases are being planned, The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratories have agreed to serve as the coordinating centre for NORAMFOODS, to include Canada, Mexico and the United States. A regional meeting in Beirut, Lebanon is planned for the organization of ARABFOODS for the Arabic-speaking countries of the Near East and the Persian Gulf, An organizational meeting will be held for SAARCFOODS, to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, China has also offered to host a regional meeting on food composition data.

The ultimate objective of INFOODS is to have every developing country in the world associated with a regional database that, in close cooperation with the databases in the industrialized countries, can supply them with the best available food composition data and assist them in developing national databases adapted to specific uses. This goal is now in sight.

References

Bressani, R. 1987. Memorias de la primera rion sobre tablde composicie alimentos LATINFOODS. Arch. Latinoam. Nutr., 37:607-626.

English, R. & Lester, I.H., eds. 1987. Proceedings of the First OCEANIAFOODS Conference. Canberra, Australian Government Publishing House,

Greenfield, H. & Southgate, D.A.T. 1992, Food composition data: production, management and use. London. Elsevier Applied Science,

Klensin, J.C. 1992. INFOODS food composition data interchange handbook. Tokyo, United Nations University.

Klensin, J.C., Feskanich, D., Lin, V., Truswell, A.S. & Southgate. D.A.T. 1989. Identification of food components for data interchange. Tokyo, United Nations University.

Pellett, P.L. & Shadarevian, S. 1970. Food composition tables for use in the Middle East. Beirut, American University of Beirut,

Rand, W.M., Pennington, J.A.T., Murphy, S.P. & Klensin, J.C. 1991, Compiling data for food composition data bases, Tokyo, United Nations University.

Rand, W., Stuckey, A., Valyasevi, A. & Tontisirin, K. 1985. Proceedings of the First ASIAFOODS Conference. Bangkok, Prayurawong,

Rand, W.M., Windham, C.T., Wyse, B.W. & Young, V.R. 1987. Food composition data: a user’s perspective. Tokyo. United Nations University.

Rand, W.M. & Young, V.R. 1983. International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS): report of a small international planning conference, Food Nutr. Bull., 5(2): 15-23,

Rand, W.M. & Young, V.R. 1984. Report of a planning conference concerning an international network of food data systems (INFOODS). Am. J, Clin. Nutr., 39: 144-151.

Truswell, A.S., Bateson, D.J., Madafiglio, K.C., Pennington, J.A.T., Rand, W.M. & Klensin, J.C. 1991, INFOODS guidelines for describing foods: a systematic approach to describing foods to facilitate international exchange of food composition data. J. Food Compos. Anal., 4:18-38.

West, C.E. 1985, EUROFOODS: toward compatibility of nutrient data banks in Europe. Ann. Nutr, Metab., 29: 1-72.

Wu Leung, W.T. & Flores, M. 1961, INCAP-ICNND food composition table for use in Latin America, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense, National Institute of Health.

Wu Leung, W.T., Butrum, R.R., Chang, F.H., Rao, M.N. & Polacchi, W. 1972. Food composition tables for use in East Asia. Rome, FAO/Bethesda, Maryland, USA, United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Wu Leung, W.T. 1968. Food composition tables for use in Africa. Rome, FAO/Bethesda, Maryland, USA, United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Importance du réseau international des systèmes de données sur l’alimentation (INFOODS)

Disposer de donn fiables sur la composition des aliments en ments nutritifs est essentiel pour les luations de la santla formulation de rmes institutionnels et thpeutiques, l’enseignement nutritionnel, la formation dans le domaine de l’alimentation et de la nutrition, la recherche dologique sur les relations entre rme alimentaire et maladie, la sction vtale, l’quetage (indications nutritionnelles) des produits alimentaires et les rementations qui leur sont applicables, la protection des consommateurs et les marchandises et produits agricoles, ainsi que pour le commerce, la recherche, le dloppement et l’assistance.

INFOODS a cren 1984 sous les auspices de l’Universites Nations Unies afin de stimuler et de coordonner les efforts visant morer la qualitt la disponibilites donn sur l’analyse des produits alimentaires a l’elle mondiale et d’assurer ous et partout l’acca des donn adates et fiables sur la composition des aliments. Les donn peuvent e ang dans le cadre des bases de donn informatis ronales des pays en dloppement. Gr n format d’interface mis au point par INFOODS, des donn peuvent lement e ang avec les bases de donn de pays industrialis(Australie, Etats-Unis et Royaume-Uni).

INFOODS a mobilises groupes d’experts pour borer des normes et des directives applicables a collecte, a compilation et a signalisation des donn sur la composition des aliments, On peut notamment citer l’«Identification des composants des aliments aux fins des anges de donn» qui dnit une se de res pour l’identification prse des composants des aliments et la construction de bases de donn susceptibles d’e transfes d’un ordinateur ’autre, et le «Manuel INFOODS des anges de donn sur la composition des aliments» qui prnte la structure et les res permettant de dacer des fichiers de donn entre pays et organisations ronales d’une fa qui prrve tous les renseignements disponibles, Les «Directives pour la nomenclature des produits alimentaires» facilitent les anges entre nations de donn sur la composition des aliments par le personnel charge compiler les bases de donn sur les ments nutritifs, gr n dispositif de description vaste, multifacettes et ouvert, Les «Directives pour la production, la gestion et l’utilisation des systs de donn sur la composition des aliments» couvrent la mise en route et l’organisation d’un programme de donn sur la composition des aliments, la sction des denr, y compris l’antillonnage, le choix des modes d’analyse, le contrde la qualitles conventions et modes d’expression des donn, les ments nutritifs nclure, et les directives pour l’utilisation.

Au lieu d’une base de donn globale sur la composition des aliments rassemblen un point central, les experts ont estimu’il serait plus appropri’un point de vue technique, scientifique et politique de conserver des bases de donn ronales. La mise our des bases de donn au fur et a mesure que de nouvelles donn deviennent disponibles est une te beaucoup plus facile iser ’elle ronale, et les donn provenant des bases de donn ronales peuvent e combin ctroniquement es fins spalis. En outre, cette strate diffuse la connaissance de techniques avanc de gestion des bases de donn dans les pays en dloppement.

Le mod d’anges de donn de INFOODS reprnte un progrnotable dans la fa de traiter des metadonn trcomplexes. De solides programmes ronaux ont mis en place dans le Pacifique Ouest (OCEANIAFOODS), en Amque latine (LATINFOODS), ainsi qu’en Europe (EUROFOODS). Des bases de donn ronales sont en cours d’organisation en Afrique (AFROFOODS) et en Asie du Sud (SAARCFOODS), La couverture des rons en dloppement dans lesquelles il n’existe pas encore de bases de donn ronales est en programmation. L’objectif de couverture universelle des pays en dloppement par le rau INFOODS, en oite cooption avec les bases de donn des pays industrialis est maintenant en vue.

Importancia de la red internacional de sistemas de datos sobre alimentos (INFOODS)

Es esencial disponer de datos fiables sobre composiciutricional de los alimentos para la evaluacie la situacianitaria, la formulacie dietas apropiadas para instituciones y terapicas, la educacin materia de nutricila capacitacin alimentaci nutricila investigacipidemiola sobre las relaciones entre dieta y enfermedad, la fitogenca, el etiquetado nutricional, la reglamentacilimentaria, la proteccie los consumidores y la produccigrla, asomo para el comercio, la investigaciel desarrollo y la asistencia.

La red INFOODS se estableci 1984, bajo los auspicios de la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas, con el fin de estimular y coordinar las actividades encaminadas a mejorar la calidad y disponibilidad de datos para analizar alimentos en todo el mundo y conseguir que cualquier persona en cualquier lugar pueda obtener datos adecuados y fiables sobre composicie los alimentos, En los pas en desarrollo, los datos pueden intercambiarse a travde bases de datos computadorizadas de carer regional, Gracias a un formato de interfaz creado por la red INFOODS, pueden intercambiarse tambicon bases de datos de pas industrializados como Australia, Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido.

INFOODS ha recurrido a grupos de expertos para elaborar normas y directrices aplicables al acopio, compilaci notificacie datos sobre composicie alimentos. Entre ellas figuran Identification of Food Components for Data Interchange, donde se establece un conjunto de normas para determinar con precisios componentes de los alimentos y construir bases de datos que puedan transferirse entre computadoras, y el INFOODS composition data interchange handbook, donde se ofrecen estructuras y normas para trasladar archivos de datos entre pas y organizaciones regionales de modo que se conserve toda la informaciisponible. Las Guidelines for food nomenclature facilitan a los compiladores de bases de datos sobre nutrientes el intercambio de datos sobre composicie alimentos entre pas por medio de un mecanismo de descripcieneral, multifacco y adaptable, Las Guidelines to the production management and use of food composition data systems abarcan el establecimiento y organizacie un programa de datos sobre composicie alimentos, la seleccie alimentos, incluida la toma de muestras, la eleccie mdos de ansis, el control de la calidad, convenciones y formas de expresie los datos, nutrientes que han de incluirse y directrices para su utilizaci

En lugar de una base mundial de datos sobre composicie alimentos de carer centralizado, los expertos han considerado mconvenientes desde el punto de vista tico, cientco y polco las bases de datos regionales, La tarea de actualizar las bases a medida que se dispone de nuevos datos es mucho mfl cuando se realiza a nivel regional; adem los datos provenientes de bases regionales pueden combinarse electramente con fines especializados. Por otra parte, esta estrategia permite difundir el conocimiento de ticas avanzadas de gestie bases de datos en los pas en desarrollo.

El modelo de intercambio de datos de INFOODS representa un adelanto considerable en el modo de manejar metadatos muy complejos. Se han establecido importantes programas regionales para el Pacco occidental (OCEANIAFOODS) y Amca Latina (LATINFOODS), asomo para Europa (EUROFOODS). Se estorganizando bases de datos regionales en Africa (AFROFOODS) y Asia meridional (SAARCFOODS). Estn curso la planificacie bases de datos regionales para atender a los pas en desarrollo restantes, El objetivo de incluir a todos los pas en desarrollo en la red INFOODS, en estrecha colaboracion las bases de datos de los pas industrializados, esta al alcance de la mano.

(introduction...)

J.M. Holden

Joanne M. Holden is a nutritionist at the Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.

Accurate values for energy, nutrients and other food attributes are required to calculate levels of intake, to monitor the adequacy of the food supply relative to human nutrient requirements, to formulate and label new products and to facilitate trade. For accuracy, a specific estimate must be statistically representative of the universe of all values for the component in the food product of interest. Serious bias in the estimate can lead to erroneous conclusions and costly mistakes affecting dietary assessment and trade.

The Food Composition Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has conducted research to develop strategies for sampling the United States food supply to estimate values for components in many foods, This work requires description of foods in terms of the food source, ingredients, preparation methods, preservation state, cultivar and other factors that may influence component levels. Marketing and demographic data can be used to identify parameters that are potential sources of variance. Demographic data may indicate the use of foods by different population subgroups which may be distinguished by ethnicity, gender, age or dietary habits (for example, vegetarians). In addition, protocols for sample handling and chemical analysis should be standardized for reproducibility and to minimize the impact of variability in the measurement process.

In many countries the average daily diet may contain ten to 25 different food items. Since a nation’s food supply is a complex mixture of processed and non-processed products, each food item has diverse forms representing many brands, formulations and geographical sources. Since it is not possible or desirable to analyse every available package of a food, it is necessary to develop a strategy for selecting units of foods to obtain a representative sample of the population of all available units. Limits on time, personnel and fiscal resources and the abundance of new and different food products in the marketplace in any country require that strategies for selecting representative units of foods for analysis be based on well-defined statistical principles as well as scientific objectives incorporating the intended use of the food composition data.

OBJECTIVES FOR SAMPLING

There are a number of possible specific objectives for sampling. These include:

· the development of a national food composition database;
· the determination of aflatoxin levels in a load of grain;
· the determination of pesticide levels in a food product;
· quality control of food manufacturing;
· the determination of significant differences in the vitamin content of different animal muscles;
· comparisons among regions or brands,

The definition of the objective helps to determine the most appropriate sampling strategy (Holden et al., 1987). If the objective is to develop a national food composition database, then two major questions need to be answered. What foods should be selected for analysis? What nutrient(s) or component(s) should be measured? Food analysis projects can estimate levels of a single component (for example, selenium, (3-carotene or total fat) in foods consumed by a population of individuals, or they may focus on a single food (for example, beef, milk or carrot) and its major components.

WHAT COMPONENTS SHOULD BE ANALYSED?

The components of interest may be nutrients, additives, natural toxicants or contaminants, Each component or class of components represents a unique sampling challenge, In general, three factors determine the selection of components. First, the component should be important in terms of actual or suspected public health effects. Second, the available analytical methods for the component(s) of interest should be robust, valid, capable of producing accurate data and economically feasible, Third, in view of fiscal and personnel limitations, analytical priorities should include those components for which available data are unacceptable (Greenfield and Southgate, 1992).

WHAT FOODS SHOULD BE SAMPLED?

In the selection of foods, priority should be given to those that are the major contributors of the component to the diet. In general, a limited number of foods (five to 100) contribute 50 to 90 percent of a single component to the diet of a population (Beecher and Matthews, 1990; Schubert, Holden and Wolf, 1987), Foods for which data are unacceptable or unavailable should be selected.

Since consumer preferences for foods or for specific forms of those foods change in response to food availability, market pressures, socio-economic factors and scientific information, foods should be analysed as eaten, Food consumption data can be used to identify the forms and methods of preparation of foods as well as their frequency of consumption, For example, in the United States some sectors of the population now often choose grilled or roasted chicken parts instead of deep-fat fried parts. Therefore, accurate and current data are needed for grilled or roasted chicken to reflect the impact of new dietary trends, In some cultures chicken or fish may be prepared whole by stewing or baking until the bones soften, and all parts, including the bones, are eaten. In this case, the food should be prepared as consumed before analysis.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

Some foods may be important sources of nutrients or other components for certain population subgroups (for example, young children and pregnant women) but may not be important in the diets of the general public, Such foods (for instance, infant formula) may be the primary source of the component in the diets of the subgroup. Therefore, accurate data for representative samples are required, Some foods may contain high levels of specific components but may not be consumed frequently or in large amounts, For example, beef, liver and oysters are high in copper, Sampling plans could be developed to provide analytical data to assess the levels of copper intake by specific groups or individuals, Similar data may be needed to assess suspected contamination of specific foods or to identify certain rich sources of nutrients for therapeutic use.

DATA FROM OTHER SOURCES

Available composition data may pertain to forms of foods not actually or currently consumed by the population groups of interest. For example, agricultural research concerning crop yields, cultivar development or fertilization experiments may yield composition data for specific components such as nitrogen in the plant as harvested. Similarly, data may be available for components of forms of a food material after partial processing, for example, minerals in raw cane sugar or levels of fat in animal carcasses. These data should be considered with caution, since further processing and preparation of the food before consumption will cause changes in component levels because of changes in levels of volles (primarily moisture), the discarding of inedible parts and gain or loss of components that are destroyed or lost along with lipid or water-based juices (sometimes called drip-loss), Conversely, the hydration of some cereal grains and their products (for example, macaroni or noodles) affects the level of component per defined gram weight. Dissection and preferential selection of specific parts of a food (for example, removal of separable visible fat on meat slices) by the consumer group will also affect component levels.

SELECTING THE ANALYTICAL SAMPLE

In statistical terms, the group of items or units selected from the population of interest and used to represent that population is called the sample (Cochran, 1977). This terminology should not be confused with the use of the term “sample” at the laboratory level, where it refers to the individual unit or container to be analysed, “Analytical sample” or “analytical unit” is the preferred term, The word “population” describes the large and dynamic collection of items relevant to the objective from which the sample subset is chosen. Generally, the population of interest is very large, while the sample represents a smaller subset of all items or units.

Figure 1 illustrates the concept of sample and population, using carrots as an example. The universe for carrots would include all units, brands and forms of carrots from all geographical areas. Experimental cultivars not yet in the market would also be included. Within that infinite universe the population might include all forms of carrots actually in the food supply of the human population of interest. Therefore, the experimental cultivars and the units grown or traded in geographical areas that do not intersect with the areas where the consumers live would be excluded, The actual sample would be the subgroup of all units and brands of interest. The units to be selected would be drawn randomly in keeping with the probabilities of occurrence for particular types and brands in the population to assure the representativeness of the sample (Cochran, 1977) (Figure 2), The probabilities of occurrence can be determined by reviewing existing data for production, marketing and consumption, The lack of a statistically based sampling protocol can contribute to bias in the estimate of central tendency for a component in a food or food product (Figure 3), Use of biased estimates can result in faulty conclusions about the population of interest. It may also lead to the formulation of erroneous public policy.

The investigator can define the characteristics of the food product, which may influence the composition and the variability of the components) of interest. Relevant characteristics include the primary food source and species (for example, the source may be wheat or corn, coconut or sunflower seed, or beef or pork), the part of the plant or animal used, preservation state, food processing treatments or added ingredients, For some components, geographical source and ripening practices are important, For others, packaging type, pH and storage are sources of variability. For foods that vary by ingredients from one shop to another, such as pizza, one would require the formulation or recipe. For this reason detailed food descriptions are necessary for the class of foods under consideration.


1 Statistical concept of universe, population and sample/Concept statistique d’univers, depopulation et d’antillon/Concepto estadico de universo, poblaci muestra

Following the definition of relevant descriptors for a food, it is necessary to identify the specific major sources of that food as it is consumed by the people of interest, In addition, the distribution and marketing schemes need to be identified. For brand products, sales volume data and product information are important to the selection of representative units. For commodity products, such as meats, eggs and milk, it is possible to identify the major breeds, agricultural production regions or cultivars, as well as major commercial purveyors of the products and an approximation of their sales ranking. In regions where food production is localized, the major outlets for products (for example, butchers and bakeries) or ingredients (for instance, flour mills and refineries) can be identified. Some products may be manufactured in one location and distributed nationwide, while others may be formulated in many regions from different sources of raw ingredients, By defining the form of the product and its sources, the investigator can begin to determine which specific products will need to be included in the sample as well as the time and location for sampling.

After marketing and distribution variables have been defined, consumption patterns should be assessed to determine where to select the samples, If the objective is a national database, then it is necessary to sample food products on the basis of the population distribution and product use, Several questions should be answered, Is the food consumed frequently and in significant amounts by the population of interest? In which regions or populations is the food consumed? Is the food consumed more often in rural areas than in towns? If the food is widely consumed by many subgroups, what is the distribution of the population in the country or region of interest? Major population centres within a country can be identified and used as locations for sample selection.


2 What is a representative sample?/Qu’est-ce qu’un antillon reprntatif?/¿Qus una muestra representativa?

This method is illustrated by a study of selenium in approximately 200 foods conducted by the USDA. Samples of the foods were purchased in two major supermarkets in each of nine cities (two to three cities in each of four regions of the country) (J, M, Holden, in preparation). For each of the major contributors of dietary selenium (that is, beef, white bread, pork, chicken, eggs) approximately 100 analytical samples were prepared. For less important foods, five to 25 samples were chosen. The investigators assumed that in choosing samples of the products with the highest volume of sales (that is, brands within the largest supermarkets in major metropolitan areas), the most frequently consumed and representative products were selected for a specific food.

HOW MANY ANALYTICAL SAMPLES ARE NEEDED?

The number of samples analysed will determine, in part, the statistical power of the estimate, Statistical equations for calculating the number of samples required (Cochran, 1977) are based on the assumption of normality (or approximate normality) for the distribution of values in the population, with equal variances for the subpopulations. In food composition research normality can usually only be assumed because the distribution is rarely known. Although statistical models for calculating the required number of samples can be complex and multi-tiered, the appropriate number of samples, n, is based on four parameters: n³ (ts)2/(ry)2.

The first parameter, t, is the abscissa of the normal curve that cuts off an area a at the tails of the distribution, indicating the desired confidence level. The standard error of the estimate is denoted by s, while the sample mean is denoted by y. The mean and standard error can be obtained from previously published data or pilot studies.


3 The effect of bias on the estimate of the mean/L’effet du biais sur l’estimation de la moyenne/Efecto del sesgo sobre la estimacie la media

Some existing handbooks of food composition data publish standard deviations or standard errors of the mean and can be used as rough estimates of sample size. The coefficient of variation, if known, can substitute for s/y. The limit of the desired relative error in the estimate, that is, the proximity of the estimate to the “true” mean, for example, within 10 percent, is represented by r.

The calculation of the appropriate number of samples is an iterative process which begins with the investigator’s approximation or “guess” of the suitable number of samples based on preliminary cost estimates or the capabilities of the analytical laboratory. After the initial calculation the estimate of the number of samples is refined by recalculation until successive trial values of n are approximately the same. The cost of sampling can be included in the equation as well (Cochran, 1977).

In the past, the mean or average value has been used as the estimate of the level of a component in the food, However, the use of the mean presumes that the statistical distribution of all values for that component in the food follows the Gaussian or normal distribution (Schubert, Holden and Wolf, 1987).

In the United States, the Food Composition Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, recently compiled and published a food composition table of the levels of five carotenoids in important fruit and vegetable contributors (Mangels et at., 1993), The values were collected from published and unpublished analytical sources, Because of the apparent skewed distribution for several foods and the limited amount of available data (one to 14 acceptable sources per food), median values were used in the table and database, However, the use of the median precludes the simple calculation of a variance indicator.

More research is needed to evaluate the characteristics of statistical distributions that result from broad-based original sampling as well as those that result from compilations of data from different sources and to compare the use of means and medians in food composition databases, In particular, caution is required when estimating food composition values from small data sets.

HOW GOOD DO THE DATA HAVE TO BE?

Food composition data must be good enough to permit the careful assessment of food consumption patterns and their impact on the health of population groups and subgroups. Similarly, the data must be of sufficient quality that other scientific and economic objectives defined by investigators can be accomplished. The required level of quality will be determined by the specific objective for compiling data, For analytical data, quality is determined, in part, by the representativeness of selected units. The validity of analytical

methods, the use of quality control programmes, the appropriateness of the sampling plan, the nature of the sample-handling protocol and the number of samples analysed are other factors that affect quality (Mangels et at., 1993).

EXPERT SYSTEMS

An expert systems approach has been developed to evaluate the quality of analytical data according to these factors, Each factor is rated from 0 for the poorest to 3 for the best (Table 1). For example, a score of 3 for analytical method indicates the use of a valid, well-documented analytical technique, Conversely, a rating of 0 is assigned when there is no evidence of validation of the method, little documentation about methodological procedures or no evidence of the understanding of the execution of the method, or when there is evidence of critical errors. Ratings are assigned for all five factors for each value for each food presented in the source document. Then the ratings are averaged across all five factors to yield a quality index per source. A worksheet illustrating the assignment of ratings is shown in Table 2.

In the expert system, ratings are assigned by the computer as information passes along a “decision pathway” (Figure 4). Ratings for each factor are the product of successive decisions made relative to critical information gleaned from the source.

When all sources for a given combination of food components have been evaluated and stored in an ASCII file, the quality indices for acceptable sources are summed to yield a total, referred to as the “quality sum”, From the quality sum the data set for a food and component, for example, b-carotene in raw carrots, is assigned a “confidence code”, an indicator of the relative confidence the user can have when using that datum (Table 3). The individual mean values from single acceptable sources can be combined in any of several ways to yield an aggregate component value for the specific food. Alternatively, the individual acceptable sources can be used without aggregation and distinguished by geographical source or some other attribute, The USDA expert system has been adapted to compile data, without aggregation, for individual carotenoids from international sources (West and Poortvliet, 1993).

It is recommended that the confidence codes for component values for specific foods be given in databases to guide the users and compilers in the appropriate use of the data. The determination and availability of data quality indicators will assist investigators in setting priorities for new analyses, Updating of databases will be facilitated by the ease of evaluating new sources and executing the algorithms to determine the acceptability of new data, In addition, the individual sources of acceptable data used to compute the mean or median value should be available to users so that they can monitor the process of data selection for critical uses of the data. To date, evaluations of values have been included in databases for selenium, copper and five carotenoids (Schubert, Holden and Wolf, 1987; Lurie et at., 1989; Mangels et al, 1993).

TABLE 1 - Summary of factors for evaluating quality of data/Resume des crits de qualites donn/Resumen de los criterios relativos a la calidad de los datos

Factor

Rating


3

2

1

0

Analytical method

Published documentation with validation for foods analysed; use of appropriate reference material with results within acceptable range or 95-100 percent recoveries on similar food and use of same sample under other method or laboratory with agreement within 10 percent; exemplary processing and saponification of sample and identification and quantification of carotenoid.

Some documentation; incomplete validation studies; 90-110 percent recoveries on similar foods or use of same sample under other method or laboratory with agreement within 10 percent; adequate processing and saponification of sample and identification and quantification of carotenoid.

Some documentation; minimal validation; <8 percent CV for repeatability or 8-20 percent CV for repeatability along with 80-120 percent recoveries on food similar to sample or use of related food under other method or laboratory with agreement within 10 percent; minimally acceptable processing and saponification of sample and identification and quantification of carotenoid.

No documentation of method, no reference or inaccessible reference given; non-chromatographic method used; no validation studies or failure to achieve acceptable results with reference material, repeatability (³20 percent CV), recovery (<80 or >120 percent), or comparison method or laboratory; inadequate processing or saponification of sample or identification or quantification of carotenoid.

Analytical quality control

Optimum accuracy and precision of method monitored and indicated explicitly by data.

Documentation of assessment of both accuracy and precision of method; acceptable accuracy and precision.

Some description of minimally acceptable accuracy and/or precision.

No documentation of accuracy or precision; unacceptable accuracy and/or precision.

Number of samples

>10; SD, SE or raw data reported

3-10

1 -2 or not specified

-

Sample handling

Complete documentation of procedures including analysis of edible portion only, validation of homogenization method, details of food preparation, and storage and moisture changes monitored.

Pertinent procedures documented including analysis of edible portion only; procedures seem reasonable but some details not reported.

Limited description of procedures including evidence of analysis of edible portion only.

Totally inappropriate procedures or no documentation of criteria pertinent to food analysed.

Sampling plan

Sampling of multiple geographical areas with description of and statistical basis for sampling; sample representative of brands/ varieties consumed or commercially used.

At least two geographic regions sampled; sample is representative.

One geographic area sampled; sample is representative of what some eat.

Not described or sample is not representative.

The clear definition of guidelines for assessing data quality can inform analysts in the public and private sectors as well as journal editors about the requirements for data quality.

VARIABILITY

The generation of accurate food composition data requires that variability inherent in the food be accurately quantified while variability inherent in the measurement process be minimized. In general, the major sources of statistical variability in dietary estimates are the food consumption data (captured by the dietary assessment tool) and the food composition data. Variability for food composition data is attributable to sampling plan (for example, product, brand, geography), sample handling (for example, temperature, homogenization, storage, changes in water content), analytical method and analytical quality control. Inherent differences in water content for different samples would also be an effect of sampling plan.

Overall variability can be partitioned by an analysis of variance into the sources of variability and can be quantified (Holden et al., 1991), The assessment of the sources and magnitude of variability for food composition data can indicate areas where improvements in the measurement process need to be made. While sampling is only one source of variability, a lack of representative sampling can increase the degree of bias in the estimates of central tendency and cause errors in the estimates of variance, As previously mentioned, a small number of foods may contribute the major proportion of a component in the diet of the population. Therefore, it is recommended that sampling resources be dedicated to obtaining statistically sound estimates for those foods that are major contributors.

TABLE 2

Worksheet evaluating quality of data for b-carotene content in winter squash/Donn relatives au b-carot dans le potiron/Hoja de trabajo para determinar el valor del betacaroteno en la calabaza grande

Product description

Referencea

Number of samples

Rating

Quality indexb

b-carotene value
(µg/100g)




Number of samples

Analytical method

Sample handling

Sampling plan

Quality control



Acorn, microwave 8 min.

a

3

2

2

1

1

1

1.4

490

Frozen, commercial

b

4

2

1

1

1

1

1.2

2670±6

Butternut, cooked 20 or 40 min.

c

4

2

1

1

1

1

1.2

4570±12

Canned

d

2

1

1

1

1

1

1.0

923

Pressure-cooked

e

2

1

1

1

1

1

1.0

2800

Canned

f

3

2

1

1

0

0

0.8

1250±180

Frozen, cooked

g

3

2

1

1

2

0

1.2

2400±570

Frozen, cooked

h

3

2

1

1

2

0

1.2

1400±600

Acorn, frozen

i

1

1

1

1

1

0

0.8

300

Butternut, frozen, cooked

j

2

1

1

1

2

0

1.0

850±350

Butternut, frozen, cooked

k

3

2

1

1

2

0

1.2

3600±1 600

Frozen, cooked

l

2

1

0

1

1

1

0d

800

Quality sume








10.4


Confidence codef








a


Mediang









2400

Minimumg









490

Maximumg









4570

a While data, including ratings, are authentic, the references are coded.

b A quality index ³ 1 is required for a datum to be considered acceptable.

c Mean (± standard deviation).

d Because of zero rating for analytical method, quality index is zero.

e The sum of the quality indices for acceptable references; it serves as the basis of the confidence code.

f The confidence code is derived from the quality sum.

g Based on the acceptable means. In this case, values from references f, i and I were unacceptable.

CONCLUSION

To assure accuracy in food composition data, it is crucial that statistically based sampling protocols be developed. Each food category of interest comprises specific products, The probabilities of occurrence for each of these products must be incorporated in the sampling protocol, By sampling randomly from the marketplace, manufacturer and farms according to the carefully planned protocol, the investigator can obtain representative samples for analysis. The analysis of representative samples provides database values that can be used within a specific level of statistical confidence for the purpose of the investigation.

TABLE 3 - Assignment and meaning of confidence codes/Attribution et signification des codes de fiabilitsignaci significado de los cos de confianza

Sum of quality indices

Confidence code

Meaning of confidence code

>6.0

a

The user can have considerable confidence in this value

3.4 to 6.0

b

The user can have confidence in this value; however, some problems exist regarding the data on which the value is based

1.0 to <3.4

c

The user can have less confidence in this value because of limited quantity and/or quality of data


4 Model of decision pathway for rating analytical method/Model de chemin de dsion pour le classement d’une mode analytique/Modele secuencia de decisiones para clasificar mdos de ansis

References

Beecher, G.R. & Matthews, R.H. 1990. Nutrient composition of foods. In Present knowledge in nutrition, p. 430-439. Washington, DC, International Life Sciences Institute. 6th ed.

Cochran, W.G. 1977. Sampling techniques. New York, Wiley. 3rd ed.

Greenfield, H. & Southgate, D.A.T. 1992. Food composition data: production, management, and use. London. Elsevier Applied Science,

Holden, J.M., Gebhardt, S., Davis, C.S. & Lurie, D.G. 1991. A nationwide study of the selenium contents and variability in white bread, J. Food Compos. Anal,. 4:183-195,

Holden, J.M., Schubert, A., Wolf, W.R. & Beecher, G.R. 1987. A system for evaluating the quality of published nutrient data: selenium, a test case. Food Nutr. Bull., 9: 177-193.

Lurie, D.G., Holden, J.M., Schubert, A., Wolf, W.R. & Miller-Ihli, N. 1989, The copper content of foods based on a critical evaluation of published analytical data, J. Food Compos. Anal., 2:298-316.

Mangels, A.R., Holden, J.M., Beecher, G.R., Forman, M.L. & Lanza, E. 1993, Carotenoid content of fruits and vegetables: an evaluation of analytic data. J. Am. Diet. Assoc., 93: 284-296.

Schubert, A., Holden, J.M. & Wolf, W.R. 1987. Selenium content of a core group of foods based on a critical evaluation of published analytical data. J. Am. Diet. Assoc., 87: 285-299.

West, C.E. & Poortvliet, E. 1993. The carotenoid content of foods with special reference to developing countries. Arlington, Virginia, USA, International Science and Technology Institute, Vitamin A Field Support Project (VITAL).

Strategies d’échantillonnage visant à assurer la représentativité des valeurs dans les données sur la composition des aliments

Les approvisionnements alimentaires comprennent de nombreux produits transformet non transform et il est impossible d’analyser chaque article pour obtenir des donn sur sa composition. Il est donc nssaire d’adopter une strate de sction des denr permettant d’obtenir un antillon reprntatif de la consommation. Pour obtenir des donn exactes sur la composition des aliments, il faut que la variabilitnhnte aux aliments soit correctement quantifi tandis que la variabilitltant du processus de mesure doit e rite au minimum. Il est nssaire de disposer de donn exactes, non biaises, pour ter les conclusions erron ainsi que des erreurs coes dans l’luation des rmes alimentaires et le commerce.

L’abondance de produits alimentaires nouveaux et diffnts et les disponibilitlimit de ressources impliquent que les strates d’antillonnage doivent se fonder sur des principes statistiques bien dnis et viser des objectifs scientifiques tenant compte de l’utilisation pre de donn sur la composition des aliments. Le prnt article dit les strates mises au point par le Drtement de l’agriculture des Etats-Unis pour antillonner les approvisionnements alimentaires afin de riser des estimations des ments entrant dans la composition de nombreux aliments.

On peut avoir besoin de donn sur un certain ment qui se retrouve dans de nombreux aliments, ou au contraire sur les principaux composants d’un aliment donnLe plus souvent, les composants sont choisis en fonction de leurs effets rs ou suppossur la santublique, de la disponibilite modes d’analyse set praticables, et du manque de donn acceptables. De fa grale, la prioritevrait e donnaux aliments qui apportent la plus grande quantite l’ment choisi au rme alimentaire, ’exception toutefois des aliments qui sont importants pour les sous-groupes de population vulnbles, des aliments qui contiennent des teneurs v de certains composants spfiques, des aliments dont on pense qu’ils contiennent des contaminants, ou qui peuvent avoir une valeur thpeutique.

L’article examine les fas de caractser des produits qui peuvent avoir une influence sur la composition et la variabilites composants des aliments, et expose une mode de sction des antillons nalyser. Il dit aussi l’approche systs experts pour luer la qualites donn analytiques. L’analyse d’antillons reprntatifs fournit des donn chiffr qui peuvent e utilis avec un niveau de fiabilittatistique drmin des fins spfiques.

Estrategias de muestreo para asegurar el valor representativo de los datos sobre composición de alimentos

Los suministros alimentarios estintegrados por numerosos productos elaborados y no elaborados, y es imposible analizar cada una de las partidas para obtener datos sobre la composicie los alimentos. Por ello es necesaria una estrategia para seleccionar unidades de alimentos con el fin de obtener una muestra representativa de la poblaciPara que los datos sobre composicie alimentos sean exactos, es necesario cuantificar con precisia variabilidad inherente a los alimentos, evitando al mismo tiempo en lo posible la variabilidad resultante del proceso de mediciSon necesarios datos exactos y no sesgados para evitar conclusiones equivocadas y errores costosos en las evaluaciones de la dieta y en el comercio.

Tanto la abundancia de productos alimenticios nuevos y diferentes como la disponibilidad de recursos limitados exigen que las estrategias de muestreo se basen en principios estadicos bien definidos asomo en objetivos cientcos que incorporen el uso previsto de los datos sobre la composicie los alimentos. El Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos ha elaborado una metodologpara tomar muestras de los suministros alimentarios con el fin de efectuar estimaciones relativas a los componentes de muchos alimentos.

En ocasiones pueden ser necesarios datos sobre un componente que se incluye en muchos alimentos, mientras que otras veces se explorarn alimento y sus principales componentes. Habitualmente los componentes se seleccionan por raze sus efectos reales o presuntos sobre la salud pa, porque se dispone de mdos de ansis bien fundados y viables y porque faltan datos aceptables. En general se darrioridad a los alimentos que mcontribuyen a la dieta. Sin embargo son excepci esta regla los alimentos que son importantes para grupos vulnerables de la poblacilos que contienen un volumen elevado de componentes especcos, los que podr contener contaminantes o los que tienen una utilidad terapica.

Existen diversos modos de determinar las caractericas de los productos que pueden influir en la composici variabilidad del componente o los componentes de los alimentos, y se dispone de una metodologpara seleccionar las muestras que se han de analizar, Tambise esta aplicando el concepto de sistemas expertos para evaluar la calidad de los datos analcos, El ansis de muestras representativas permite obtener valores para la base de datos que pueden emplearse con un fin determinado dentro de un margen especco de confianza estadica.

(introduction...)

G.P. Sevenhuysen

Gustaaf Sevenhuysen is Associate Professor in the Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Manitoba, Canada.

Food composition databases are among the very important resources used by professionals working in areas such as food trade, food control, nutrition research and health promotion, The data in food composition tables are needed to make many health-related decisions and are assumed to be accurate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and serious attention is needed to ensure that high-quality food composition data will become available, However, work on food composition appears to receive very low priority compared to other activities when resources for development are limited.

INADEQUACY OF FOOD COMPOSITION DATA

Food composition tables and databases are available in most countries, yet the data they contain are invariably criticized as being too inaccurate for many purposes. For example, the use of food composition tables to calculate nutrient intakes for individuals is considered to be too unreliable for clinical and health-related research since nutrient contents of foods vary greatly. Similarly, food manufacturers have not been able to rely on the existing composition data to provide the accuracy required for regulator/work.

Users of food composition data need information beyond simple nutrient or component values, They demand more precise food descriptions that include the origin of data. Data on micronutrients and the different biologically active forms of nutrients are requested, as well as additional information on the representativeness and quality of existing data, Since such complete data and descriptions are not available to users at present, the tables and databases can be considered to be inadequate.

When food composition tables and databases were created in the United States and Europe during the 1950s and 1960s, considerable sharing of data took place so that listings could be compiled to interpret national nutrition surveys. In developing countries, the extent to which data were borrowed to compile tables was even greater. Thus, much of the food composition information used worldwide is based on outmoded technology and on analytical techniques that have been improved since the data were collected years ago.

When these databases were created, developers provided single value results for the nutrient composition of a food item. Users were not made sufficiently aware of the natural variation in the composition of a food or the compositional differences among foods from different areas, Descriptions and variations were not recorded by most institutions. Therefore, it is impossible to determine whether the reported values were influenced by factors now known to be important, Furthermore, users cannot be confident about the range of foods represented by these average values. Thus food composition data are inadequate for several important purposes, including food trade, clinical research and international epidemiology.

CONSEQUENCES OF POOR DATA

Current compositional data are used for many purposes in spite of the inherent uncertainties about the values. However, these uncertainties threaten to cause higher costs and inefficient use of resources.

Costs to industry

The lack of precise food composition data can be detrimental to food manufacturers in a number of ways. In complying with regulations on product content, the food industry may use too much of an ingredient that is known to contribute the component being regulated, A manufacturer faces higher costs when it selects alternative ingredients for which there are no data, Expenditures rise with more frequent chemical analysis for product development and quality control. Companies that have access to reliable data are able to modify product formulations in response to consumer concerns, while those that lack data lose competitive power.

These costs are more serious for small businesses, and the development of food composition tables will help the growth of this segment of the industry. Larger industries have solved their problems by generating new analytical data for their own manufacturing processes. The data obtained in this way are reliable and meet the specific needs of the production processes. Such data are, however, obtained at a higher cost than would be incurred by the use of a locally generated food composition table.

Costs to industry also rise with each additional government regulation placed on food products or their manufacture. Whether the food regulations are aimed at health promotion among the national population or at the promotion of trade, they often increase the need for food composition data.

Ultimately, officially accepted databases will reduce the cost of food to consumers because food manufacturers add the cost of privately obtained data to their prices.

Costs to government

Governments require precise food composition data to lessen the frequency of chemical analysis needed in the enforcement of food inspection and food labelling regulations. Food composition data can lower the costs of estimating the exposure of specific population groups to food components that are associated with chronic disease, In screenings for potential deficiency or chronic diseases, these data can reduce the expense of testing the nutrient intakes of individuals, Finally, the availability of data can lower the cost of estimating nutrient and food component intakes from imported food and reduce the use of composition data from other locations.

Costs to government are more difficult to quantify than those for industry, The effects of policies from various sectors on the health of the population are not well known, particularly in the case of chronic conditions, Therefore, it is difficult to determine the extent to which poor food composition data have contributed to uncertainty in research results, In spite of the fact that large population groups may be affected by such policy decisions, generating new food composition data is difficult because the process is expensive and time consuming.

Many developing countries lack good data, yet their populations are too small to justify the expenditure of large resources for food composition activities, However, a combined effort to generate data for a group of countries, which would benefit several populations at the same time, could be justified.

BENEFITS OF BETTER DATA

The values chosen as representative will be used to determine whether the intakes of individuals meet recommended intakes. As a result, these values affect decisions taken by food distributors and food manufacturers. Yet, the professionals who calculate individual nutrient intakes will often be unable to decide which database entries represent the actual food eaten because the information does not include details on variable factors that affect the food’s composition, such as growing conditions, stage of ripeness or product formulation. Such uncertainty can be minimized by better descriptions of the source of data and the growing, storage and processing conditions. Database developers can promote better decision-making by providing the details that explain the food component values.

Recent changes in analytical methods have led to new nutrient values, For example, data on the vitamin contents of many foods were revised in national tables following the wider use of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) equipment. The reanalysis of b-carotene values in East Africa (West and Poortvliet, 1993) shows that previous methods overestimated the amounts of this nutrient in foods, The current estimates of amounts of b-carotene available to the population are half those used in the past, These results can affect food policies in East African countries, In this case, assumptions about the vitamin A activity in the diets of children will change dramatically as a result of better food composition data. Not only are nutritional problems defined more accurately, but subsequent interventions will be more effective in saving children from permanent damage, Finally, the costs of interventions can be calculated more accurately.

As newer methods are used to reanalyse commonly eaten foods in developing countries, it is reasonable to expect that similar advantages will be documented in other cases, As a result, interventions promise to be more efficient in improving the nutritional status of populations.

USE OF EXISTING DATA

Food composition databases are used regularly in research and policy planning with little quality control because descriptions of the data which would permit informed judgements are not provided. For example, when the separate values for several foods are not available, it is assumed that their nutrient contents are the same and that the content of one food can represent all the others, This acceptance of methods that involve extensive simplifications is unusual in science, and the compromise on precision and accuracy may be greater than would normally be acceptable for scientific methods, In any one table there are good data, but it is not possible to know what proportion of the data are good, As time passes, the proportion of data that are considered to be good decreases because the foods in the market change in composition and newer analysis techniques raise the quality standards.

Nevertheless, it is possible to use current composition data, provided adequate care is taken to explain the limitations in results. The user needs to remember to ask for and check the description of the data and to check the extent of the possible compromises on data quality and representativeness, In addition, the user needs to clarify the level of precision required for the purpose. While a very high level of precision is needed for clinical applications, a much lower level is acceptable for food aid calculations involving some nutrients.

It is most important that users indicate the extent of uncertainty in the results of calculations based on the data, either with straightforward descriptions or as a set of confidence intervals. Such explanations will ensure that readers clearly understand the reasons for the limitations of the results given, The explanations permit more reliable interpretation of nutrition survey and policy formulation data and remind the decision-makers who rely on the interpretations of the uncertainties in food composition data and the reasons for actively maintaining such data.

At present, more description of data is required, including the application of universally recognized food naming systems and more complete explanations of data quality, In addition, better understanding is required to determine which data are interchangeable and which are not, particularly because food composition data are used for many different purposes.

MODERN FOOD DATABASES

The essential part of a table or database is the set of values of chemical analysis. Each value is associated with a food name and a nutrient name. All other features of a database are chosen by users and are designed to facilitate entry, retrieval or modification of values (Greenfield and Southgate, 1992).

Retrieving nutrient and component values is the first function of any system for managing the data. Two basic elements of management are the list of foods and the list of nutrients, However, users require more than names in selecting the same foods from a long list because names may have slightly different meanings for individuals whose training and experience differ. The problem is that a single, short food name cannot describe all the different attributes of a food item.

The food should be labelled with a name from the local culture that is fully understood by users in the area; this name can be a word from the local language or English, or both, Variations in common names of food may be unrelated to differences in composition. Each name shows the characteristics of the food that a user group views as important; it can reflect the way the food is used in the kitchen, at meal time or during social occasions. The first task therefore is to choose names that individuals can use within their culture but that also separate foods according to differences in composition. Hence, this descriptive name should imply details about the food, such as maturity of the sample analysed, storage conditions or any processing or refinement steps. Local users are familiar with the common forms of the foods, but other users need to have these descriptions in order to choose appropriate nutrient values.

Food identifiers

The ways of characterizing any food item are too numerous to capture in a food name, In order to make the many possible descriptions available in a practical way, foods need to be coded with more than local names. Several systems have been developed to help in this task. Eurocode is a system of codes developed cooperatively by a number of European institutions for the food composition databases of European countries (Kohlmeier, 1992). The codes are made up of a number of separate elements which refer to different attributes such as the group to which the food belongs and the country where the food is commonly eaten, Eurocode is designed to integrate databases from European countries. The International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS), established by the United Nations University, has designed a system with simplified names for international use (Truswell et al., 1991), Langual is a comprehensive coding system developed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (1989) to bridge the needs of many different user groups, The Langual system uses diverse codes for each food, chosen from different hierarchies of codes, each one describing a major characteristic of the food.

Any coding system that creates food group structures in the database is potentially complex and requires significant time and effort for the addition of codes or descriptors to the existing data. This problem is particularly pronounced in the case of Langual because of its high level of complexity and the large amount of data used to describe foods, However, such problems are minimized with the use of computers; database management software reduces the amount of arduous work and allows customized applications of the same coding system for user groups with different needs.

Nutrient identifiers

Nutrient names or labels also need to be standardized because users demand that labels refer not only to the nutritionally important component of the food, but also to the analytical method used to generate the value in the database, The solution proposed is a system of nutrient labels called tag names, which are nine-digit letter combinations that can be incorporated into any food composition database. With a central registry of tag names it is possible for users in many areas to label the nutrient entries in their own databases in a way that is compatible with other databases.

Source descriptions

The process of retrieval is complicated by the need for descriptions of source and quality to be associated with each nutrient or component value. The source descriptions allow users to decide whether values are likely to represent the composition of foods of interest. At present, many databases or tables imply that all the values are relevant for any geographical areas mentioned in the title. For example, the food composition database for Thailand is intended to represent foods anywhere in the country, as is Indonesia’s database, or Canada’s. However, foods from different areas of these large countries may show important variations in content, and only average figures are included in the respective databases. Source codes can provide users with more detail on which to base judgements about the composition of foods eaten.

Indications of data quality

Most databases do not include information on the quality of data. The values included are those deemed to be reliable by the analysts who provide the data; there is rarely any assurance that judgements are comparable or explanation of the judgements for users.

Users must rely on analysts’ explanations to know the effect of analytical methods on composition data and to judge whether the data are precise enough for their purposes. A code with three categories, ranging from “unreliable” to “as accurate as current technology and methods allow”, has been developed to score data quality (Schubert, Holden and Wolf, 1987), although to date it has been applied for only a few nutrients.

Food pictures

Other descriptions can be included in databases, especially with new electronic capabilities, For example, images of foods offer advantages in representing many food characteristics, such as physical state, colour, maturity, part of plant or animal, preparation and processing, Also, pictures present the food to the user in its familiar form; this is very important in the case of unknown, imported foods, Another use of pictures is to show the sample that was actually analysed; this image is particularly useful for analysts and database developers who need to compare data on the same foods from different sources.

PRIORITIES

To improve food composition data, several priorities were established in 1994 at an international meeting held in Tunis, Tunisia (FAO, 1994). The first priority is to generate new data that provide better estimates of the real composition of food.

A second priority is to describe both the foods and the composition data more fully. In this way, users who need additional detail can decide whether the conditions of the food under consideration match those of the samples in the database and whether the values were obtained from appropriate locations.

The third priority is to express data through distributions of values, instead of mean or median values, in order to capture the uncertainties in the numbers. Until now, data have not been available to quantify the uncertainty, and the results as presented often imply greater accuracy than could actually be ensured.

CONCLUSION

Since professionals cannot work without food composition data, they frequently say that poor data are better than no data, In the short term, professionals must continue to use the existing food composition data. The situation can only change in the long term, because the effort required to improve data is large in comparison to the resources available to most institutions or governments for carrying out the work. Hence, it is difficult to change available food composition data within the time allowed for planning specific policies or designing particular interventions that depend on such data.

In each context, local, national or international, the costs associated with using poor data need to be weighed separately, In choosing foods and nutrients for analysis, priorities also depend on the relative importance of the foods in terms of local food consumption and trade.

Data will be more effectively generated and managed if professionals and institutions cooperate rather than working independently. Regional cooperative programmes promoted by FAO and INFOODS are good examples of collaboration that increases the effectiveness of separate efforts, As a result of these efforts, more and better databases for local objectives will become available in the next few years.

References

FAO. 1994. Proceedings of discussions on food composition. Tunis, Tunisia. Unpublished Food Policy and Nutrition Division Report. Rome.

Greenfield, H. & Southgate, D.A.T. 1992. Food composition data: production, management and use. London. Elsevier Science Publishers,

Kohlmeier, L. 1992, The Eurocode 2 food coding system, Eur. J. Clin. Nutr..46 (Suppl. 5): 526-534.

Schubert, A., Holden, J.M. & Wolf, W.R. 1987. Selenium content of a core group of foods based on a critical evaluation of published analytical data, J, Am. Diet, Assoc., 87: 285-299.

Truswell, A.S., Bateson, D.J., Madafiglio, K.C., Pennington, J.A.T., Rand, W.M. & Klensin, J.C. 1991, Committee report: INFOODS guidelines for describing foods to facilitate international exchange of food composition data. J. Food Compos. Anal., A; 18-38.

United States Food and Drug Administration, 1989, Langual user’s manual. Washington, DC, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Division of Information Resource Management, Food and Drug Administration.

West, C.E. & Poortvliet, E.J. 1993. The carotenoid content of foods with special reference to developing countries. Arlington, Virginia, USA, International Science and Technology Institute, Vitamin A Field Support Project (VITAL).

Bases de données sur la composition des aliments: Problèmes actuels et solutions

Les bases de donn sur la composition des aliments constituent une importante ressource utilispour prendre des dsions concernant le commerce et le contrdes aliments, la recherche nutritionnelle et la promotion de la santMalheureusement, les donn qui figurent dans les tables de composition des aliments ne correspondent souvent pas aux besoins de la recherche sur la nutrition ni des travaux de rementation. Les utilisateurs de l’information sur la composition des aliments demandent des descriptions plus prses et plus dill des aliments, indiquant leur origine, leur qualitt le degre reprntativites donn. Les incertitudes qui persistent dans les donn actuelles peuvent faire augmenter les cot emper l’industrie et les services publics d’utiliser les ressources de fa efficace.

Les prioritdevraient e d’obtenir de nouvelles donn fournissant de meilleures estimations de la composition rle des aliments; de dire de fa plus dilltant les aliments que les donn sur leur composition; et d’exprimer les donn sous forme de distributions de valeurs, au lieu de moyennes ou de valeurs manes, afin de faire apparae les incertitudes contenues dans les chiffres.

Les bases de donn modernes sur la composition des aliments comprennent les systs de nomenclature des aliments universellement reconnus ainsi que des explications plus compls de la qualites donn. L’amoration des donn sur la composition des aliments est une te trop vaste pour une seule institution, ou m pour plusieurs gouvernements, La cooption entre institutions est nssaire pour produire et gr les donn de fa efficace, De tels efforts collaboratifs, au niveau international, permettront de disposer de meilleures bases de donn pour rndre aux demandes locales.

Bases de datos sobre composición de alimentos: Problemas actuales y soluciones

Las bases de datos sobre composicie alimentos son recursos importantes para adoptar decisiones relativas al comercio y control de alimentos, a la investigaciobre nutrici al fomento de la salud, Sin embargo, los datos de los cuadros de composicie alimentos suelen ser inadecuados para la investigacin materia de nutrici las actividades de regulacin este sector, Los usuarios profesionales de informaciobre composicie alimentos exigen descripciones de os mprecisas y detalladas, en las que se indique el origen, calidad y grado de representatividad de los datos, La incertidumbre que rodea a los datos actuales puede aumentar los costos e impedir un uso eficiente de los recursos por parte de la industria y del sector po.

Hay que dar prioridad a la elaboracie nuevos datos que permitan estimar mejor la composicieal de los alimentos, y llegar a una descripcias completa de los mismos, Los datos se deber expresar por medio de distribuciones de valores y no de valores medios o medianos, con el fin de disipar la incertidumbre.

Las bases de datos modernas sobre composicie alimentos incluyen sistemas de denominacie alimentos universalmente reconocidos y explicaciones mcompletas acerca de la calidad de los datos.

La mejora de los datos sobre composicie alimentos es una tarea demasiado vasta para que pueda realizarla una sola instituci incluso varios gobiernos. Es necesaria la cooperacintre instituciones para generar los datos y manejarlos eficazmente. Gracias a estos esfuerzos internacionales de colaboracise podrisponer de mejores bases de datos para alcanzar los objetivos establecidos a nivel local.

(introduction...)

J. Castenmiller and C.E. West

Jacqueline Castenmiller is Research Associate and Clive E. West is Associate Professor at Wageningen Agricultural University, Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Information on the composition of foods is essential for any nutrition programme, whether the diets concerned are for healthy individuals or for those suffering from illness. In addition, there is a growing demand for high-quality and compatible food composition data to meet the needs of research on the relationship between diet and disease, Because of the heightened interest in the nutritional quality of foods, exporting countries and the food industry find that data on the nutritional composition of foods are essential. Thus, food composition data must meet the needs of government agencies, nutrition scientists, health and agriculture professionals, policy-makers and planners, food producers, processors and retailers, and consumers.

In developed countries considerable effort has been expended in generating and making available data on the composition of foods. However, in developing countries the data are often outdated and inadequate.

Although the primary objective of a nutrient database or food composition table is to provide data on the nutritional value of foods, it is also important to have information on the content of constituents that influence the bioavailability of specific nutrients, Data are needed to estimate the edible portion of foods. In terms of prepared foods, the yield and retention factors should be measured in a uniform way. There is a paucity of data on some nutrients, such as vitamin K, Finally, there is a paucity of data on “non-nutrients”, such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity.

PROGRAMME OF ACTION

To meet the goals of the International Conference on Nutrition (held in Rome in December 1992), it is essential that a programme of action to produce and disseminate data on the composition of foods be initiated, especially for developing countries and eastern Europe, As is often the case, resources and knowledge are two main limitations to progress in the area of providing sufficient data of acceptable quality.

Perhaps the principal barrier to the production and compilation of food composition data is the lack of knowledge and interest among those who are responsible for policy and the allocation of resources, It is very important that these decision-makers be aware of the need for this information. The programme of action should include short sessions on the importance of high-quality food composition data, which could be organized during regional meetings of ministers of agriculture and of health.

Another aspect of the programme of action would be the establishment of a network of regional centres for analysing foods, These institutions could act as reference and training centres for the region. To support the regional centres, backup centres, which could assist with training, quality control and the development and testing of appropriate methods, should be established in industrialized countries, The regional centres could assist in the collection, evaluation and dissnation of food composition data.

TRAINING NEEDS

Training is necessary for those generating, compiling or using data on food composition. A systematic approach to the collection of information required for the creation of a comprehensive database and the construction of new databases is necessary to ensure compatibility with other databases and systems, Furthermore, the production of sound nutritional data depends on an integrated series of activities involving the users of the data, the analysts who generate data and the compilers of the database.

The effective use of food composition tables and nutrient databases requires a level of training and expertise that depends on the sophistication of the database or tables concerned. Even simplified food tables designed for lay use require some background knowledge of weights and measures and of terms such as “kilojoules” and “energy”. More sophisticated databases require an understanding of modes of expression, food descriptors and concepts such as “edible portion”, A professional nutritionist or dietician must become familiar with the principles of sampling, analytical methodology and data management and must be aware of common mistakes that can arise in database usage. The professional user also requires training in the evaluation of databases for specialized uses such as research projects.

General training

Often food analysts do not understand how their data will be used and for what purpose, Compilers of food composition tables are not familiar with the technical problems involved in food analysis and cannot adequately assess the quality and reliability of data.

It is essential that those involved in the process of creating databases be trained to be aware of the needs of the users, as they are responsible for ensuring that the database meets users’ requirements. Users expect all data that they require for specific purposes to be available. In turn, they must be aware of the problems encountered by those generating and compiling food composition data.

Even the best food composition table or database is of little value if it is used incorrectly, The compilers must define for the user the limitations of the database so that the data can be used appropriately, Those who train the users, and the users themselves, are ultimately responsible for correct use of the data.

To meet this training need, a postgraduate course on the production and use of food composition data in nutrition is held in Wageningen every two years, The first of these courses was organized in October 1992 by the FLAIR Eurofoods-Enfant Project (see Box), The second course (FoodComp ‘94), held in October 1994, was organized by the Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Nutrition, Food Technology, Agrobiotechnology and Health Sciences (VLAG) of the Wageningen Agricultural University, in cooperation with the United Nations University, FAO and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences.

The course is based on guidelines developed initially under the auspices of INFOODS and later by the FLAIR Eurofoods-Enfant Project (Greenfield and Southgate, 1992), The course is the major international training activity on the subject and could be used for the training of facilitators for regional courses. In 1994, the course had 33 participants from 22 countries, most of whom were involved in updating existing food composition tables or preparing food composition tables where none existed previously, for example in Singapore and Lebanon.

EUROPEAN INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE FOOD COMPOSITION DATABASES

Some 15 years ago, there was recognition in Europe that substantial benefits would flow from coordinating the production of food composition tables in various countries. Such cooperation would lead to improved quality, availability and compatibility of the European nutrient databases and the food composition values In these: databases, and this would be valuable for multicentre epidemiological studies in Europe.

An organization which was initially called Eurofoods was established. Later it was incorporated into the Food-Linked Agro-Industrial: Research (FLAIR) Programme of the Commission of the European Communities (now the Commission of the European Union) as the Eurofoods-Enfant Project, This project collaborates with and resembles the International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS). These organizations have been working towards the improvement of the quality and compatibility of data on food consumption and composition in Europe.

One of the main achievements of the FLAIR Eurofoods-Enfant Project has been the establishment of a network of persons working in the field of food consumption and food composition in Europe, Meetings have been organized at regular intervals in which: people could meet and exchange information, expertise ano) experience. The project has also supported the further development and evaluation of food coding systems in Europe.

During the 1994 training course the following issues were addressed:

· selection of foods to be included in food composition tables in order to cover foods commonly consumed by the population in general and foods consumed by specific groups;

· selection of nutrients and other components based on policy decisions or objectives of research;

· sampling procedures with a well-described and properly documented protocol in order to obtain representative food samples;

· choice of analytical methods for the production of food composition data that are appropriate and valid, with consideration also for the resources available;

· quality of analytical data and the need for full documentation;

· other quality considerations in the compilation of a food composition database;

· food coding, modes of expression and dealing with missing values;

· the use of food composition data in association with food balance sheets and household budget surveys and in individual dietary intake studies.

Training in analytical techniques

Training in analytical techniques for generating food composition data is also required. Those responsible for food analysis do not always understand the principles involved in the different facets of generating food composition data, such as developing sampling protocols, sample handling and sample preparation, Nutritional analysis is a specialized branch of food analysis, and specific training is required in this area, Ideally, nutritional analysis should be included in university courses on analytical chemistry. However, a range of postgraduate courses could be directed at graduates in food science or nutrition who work in the field or plan to do so.

Quality control is an important issue. All laboratories involved in food analysis should be involved in collaborative interlaboratory studies and should use standardized reference materials and materials for internal quality control. Collaborative interlaboratory studies should be carried out to evaluate laboratory performance and to stimulate its improvement.

RECENT ASSESSMENTS OF FOOD COMPOSITION DATA

While it is technically feasible to develop international databases, this work is impeded by the variable analytical quality, the incompatibilities and even the unknown origins of existing data. One of the most important requirements for compatibility is that the data be of high quality. Food composition data must be reliable and comparable. Two examples demonstrate the importance of reliable data.

In 1985, seven centres were given the task of calculating the mean intake of energy and nutrients from a two-day dietary protocol (Arab, 1985). As can be seen from Table 1, estimates of the intake of calcium and fibre varied considerably, with coefficients of variation of 44 and 42 percent, respectively. Differences between extreme values were greater than 50 percent for fibre, calcium, iron, vitamin A and the B vitamins. Because the quality of the nutrient composition data applied Is not known, it is not clear whether these differences are due to natural variability in the composition of the foods, method of preparation, processing techniques, sampling procedures or method of analysis of the foods.

In a study on the carotenoid content of foods, particularly In developing countries (West and Poortvliet, 1993), a comparison was made between provitamin A data found in the Indonesian food composition table and the best data on the provitamin A content of foods currently available (Table 2). As a result of this finding, the estimate for the provitamin A intake of pregnant women in Indonesia has had to be reduced by at least 50 percent.

TABLE 1 - Daily intake of energy and various nutrients calculated from a two-day dietary protocol by seven research centres

Research centre

Energy (kj)

Carbohydrate (g)

Fibre (g)

Calcium(mg)

Iron
(mg)

Vitamin A (µm)

Vitamin B1
(µg)

A

4455

99

3.5

172

6.2

223

700

B

4757

115

-

181

10.0

390

800

C

5003

106

11.6

406

6.3

312

621

D

5227

113

10.6

384

6,5

312

640

E

5354

115

11.9

295

6.8

278

630

F

5443

125

-

225

8.8

297

586

G

6163

139

-

111

4.7

242

453

Mean

5200

116

9.4

253

7.0

293

633

Standard deviation

547

13

4.0

112

1.8

55

106

Coefficient of variation (%)

10

11

42

44

28

19

17

Maximum difference

1 708

40

8.4

295

5.3

167

347

Source: Arab, 1985.

TABLE 2 - Provitamin A content of foods: values in Indonesian food composition table compared with revised data

English name

Indonesian name

Scientific name

Provitamin A contenta




Indonesian data

Revised data

Carrot

Wortel

Daucus carota

1 800

1 000

Cassava, leaf

Daun singkong

Manihot utulissima

1 650

1 055

Sauropus, leaf, sweet shoot

Daun katuk

Sauropus androgynus

1 556

608

Spinach

Bayam

Amaranthus viridis

914

207

Sweet potato, yellow

Ubi jalar

Ipomoea batatas

902

214

Tomato, ripe

Tomat buah

Lycopersicum esculentum

255

60

a Measured as retinol equivalent per 100 g edible portion.
Source: West and Poortvliet, 1993 (with corrections by the authors).

Generally, training in a number of specialized techniques requires three to six months in a specialized laboratory, which could be followed by four to six weeks of on-site training and two- to four-week visits at annual intervals. On-site training offers greater applicability to local conditions and also allows simultaneous training of several analysts.

Methods of food analysis must be adapted to local foods and facilities. Techniques of evaluating data from such methods should also be developed.

Apart from the training, sufficient resources should be guaranteed to the institution where the trainee works to allow the planned analytical work to take place, Additional problems to be solved may include: the initial cost of purchasing equipment, the cost and availability of supplies, adverse climatic conditions and unreliable and fluctuating electric power supplies, In addition, the institution where the training has taken place should be able to provide backup in the form of continued quality control and the supply of chemicals and spare parts.

Standard reference materials

There is a need for the ready supply of standard reference materials. Both the United States National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) and the Community Bureau of Reference of the Commission of the European Union are active in the area of standard reference materials. More standard reference materials should be established, maintained and made available at an affordable price to recognized institutions. In addition, training should be provided in the use of standard reference materials and of in-house materials with values that are linked to those of certified standard reference materials.

CONCLUSION

Effective use of food composition tables and nutrient databases as well as international harmonization of food composition data and data management require training, education and expertise. A training programme covering all aspects of production, management and use of food composition data should form a unit in any tertiary or professional course in nutrition. Thus, considerable responsibility rests with those who train users of food composition database systems.

Education and training programmes will develop a network of workers with common goals and standards who will contribute to the development of common approaches to the organization of food composition programmes, to food nomenclature and nutrient analysis and expression, and to food sampling and data quality assurance programmes, Data will become more compatible as their quality improves.

Food composition tables and nutrient databases are the basis for all national nutrition programmes and studies relating nutrition to health, It is absolutely essential that sufficient resources, including trained personnel, be devoted to their production.

References

Arab, L. 1985, Summary of survey of food composition tables and nutrient data banks in Europe, Ann. Nutr. Metab., 29 (Suppl. 1): 39-45.

Greenfield, H. & Southgate, D.A.T. 1992, Food composition data: production, management and use. London, Elsevier Applied Science/Chapman and Hall.

West, C.E. & Poortvliet, E.J. 1993. The carotenoid content of foods with special reference to developing countries. Arlington, Virginia, USA, International Science and Technology Institute, Vitamin A Field Support Project (VITAL).

Amelioration des données relatives à la composition des aliments grace à la formation

II est essentiel pour tout programme de nutrition humaine comme pour l’industrie alimentaire de disposer de donn sur la composition des aliments qui soient de bonne qualitt compatibles, Etablir un syst mondial de bases de donn compatibles sur la composition nutritionnelle des aliments est une te de grande ampleur qui nssite une approche systtique de la collecte des informations. Les ddeurs doivent e conscients de la nssit’avoir des donn de qualitur la composition des produits alimentaires, et des fonds adats doivent e alloues activit

La production de donn valables sur la nutrition dnd d’une se d’activitauxquelles doivent participer les utilisateurs des donn, les analystes des aliments qui fournissent les donn et le personnel charg’blir la base de donn, L’exigence de qualites donn doit e intdans le programme dle drt. Il est nssaire d’assurer la formation de ceux qui produisent les donn sur la composition des aliments comme de ceux qui les utilisent, afin que tous comprennent les contraintes de la production et de l’utilisation de ces informations.

La bonne utilisation des tables de composition des aliments et des bases de donn sur les ments nutritifs, de m que l’harmonisation internationale des donn sur la composition des aliments et de la gestion des donn nssitent formation, enseignement et expertise. L’enseignement professionnel en mati de nutrition devrait comprendre un programme de formation couvrant tous les aspects de la production, de la gestion et de l’utilisation des donn sur la composition des aliments. Un programme de formation international organisar l’Universitgricole de Wageningen, l’Universites Nations Unies, la FAO et l’Union internationale des sciences de la nutrition comprend des matis telles que la sction des aliments et des ments nutritifs, les procres d’antillonnage, les modes d’analyse et autres considtions de qualitla codification des aliments et l’utilisation des donn sur la composition des aliments en nutrition.

Il est essentiel pour l’lution de la science nutritionnelle que les activitgrales de recherche nutritionnelle comprennent l’blissement et l’entretien de bases de donn sur la composition des aliments, La formation devrait faire partie d’un plan d’action gral visant l’amoration de la qualitt de la compatibilites donn sur la composition des aliments; la qualites bases de donn ne pourra s’amorer ’avenir que si les utilisateurs sont correctement formet vigilants.

La disponibilidad de datos compatibles y de alta calidad sobre composicie alimentos es imprescindible tanto para cualquier programa de nutriciumana como para la industria alimentaria, El establecimiento de un sistema mundial de bases de datos compatibles sobre este tema es una tarea fundamental que spodrealizarse mediante un plan sistemco de recogida de informaciLos encargados de formular polcas han de ser conscientes de la necesidad de datos de alta calidad sobre composicie alimentos y de los requisitos financieros para estas actividades.

La elaboracie datos fiables sobre nutriciepende de una serie de esfuerzos integrados en los que participan los usuarios de los datos, los analistas de los alimentos que generan la informaci los compiladores de la base de datos. La buena calidad de los datos debe formar parte del programa desde su principio. Es necesario que quienes crean y utilizan datos sobre composicie alimentos reciban capacitacide modo que comprendan los factores que limitan la producci utilizacie esta informaci

El uso efectivo de cuadros de composicie alimentos y bases de datos sobre nutrientes y la armonizacinternacional de los datos sobre composicie alimentos y su gestion exigen capacitaciformaci competencia profesional. Los cursos especializados sobre nutricieber incluir un programa de capacitaciue abarcara todos los aspectos de la produccimanejo y utilizacie datos sobre composicie alimentos. Un programa internacional de capacitaciorganizado por la Universidad Agraria de Wageningen (Pas Bajos), la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas, la FAO y la Uninternacional de Ciencias de la Nutricicomprende temas como la seleccie alimentos y nutrientes, procedimientos de muestreo, mdos de ansis y otras consideraciones relacionadas con la calidad, codificacie alimentos y utilizacie datos sobre composicie alimentos en la nutrici

Para que progresen las ciencias de la nutricis imprescindible que se elaboren y mantengan bases de datos sobre composicie alimentos como parte de las actividades generales de investigacielacionadas con la nutriciLa capacitacia de formar parte de un plan de accieneral para mejorar la calidad y compatibilidad de los datos sobre composicie alimentos, La calidad de las bases de datos smejorarn el futuro si los usuarios estperfectamente capacitados y permanecen vigilantes.

(introduction...)

G.A. Purvis

George A. Purvis has worked for the International Life Sciences Institute and Research Foundation. He is currently affiliated with Michigan State University, USA.

Food composition databases are vital for food product development, food description and nutrient composition values used by the food industry, The purposes of developing this information are relatively broad. Applications may include the setting of standards of food adequacy and uniformity; formulations of foods with specific nutrients; purchase specifications for food ingredients; and criteria for compliance with regulations. The data are used to determine the nutritional adequacy of foods and diets and as a basis for communication with consumers.

For a wide range of foods, government publications have been the sources of food composition information. The best recognized and most extensive publication is the United States Department of Agriculture Handbook No. 8, Composition of foods (USDA, 1963). From its first publication in 1950 through numerous updates and expansions, it has served as the broadest cross-reference for the food industry, especially in North America.

Individual companies within the food industry have compiled composition and ingredient information about finished products (that is, food as it is consumed) for specific food categories. This is used for direct or indirect communication to nutritional scientists and to consumers. For example, the Gerber Products Company has published Nutrient values since 1955 and updates information when products or analytical values change (Gerber Products, 1992), The Campbell Soup Company and H.J. Heinz Company were among the early food manufacturers that made composition information available. Many other companies in North America and western Europe have provided nutrient information as well. The industry compilations have been used to complement the government’s published information and for promotional purposes. Published information can generally be obtained by contacting the manufacturer, either by telephone or mail.

It is important to note the limitations of food composition information from individual food companies, Each company is specialized and works with a limited range of foods and processes. As a result their individual tabulations make up a fragmented set with considerable variability in method of presentation, scope of foods and degree of processing, Although the results are correct, the presentation is not uniform. For example, some data are expressed “per 100 grams”, some according to container size and some “per serving”. Some information is provided for raw or uncooked foods, while other data refer to cooked foods.

The food industries in developing countries have functions and requirements similar to those described above, Resources, however, are generally not as extensive, and the distribution of the data is not as broad. As a result, the information is not as widely available and well developed. In general, the information that is collected is restricted to that which is required for compliance with domestic, regional or trade regulations or for safety. Broader information is not required for consumers or for strict manufacturing control.

FOOD STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS

Collection of food composition information is mandated for compliance with and communication of regulatory requirements and standards. Requirements apply to labelling, safety and trade.

Internationally, the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Labelling has communicated uniform methods for the use of food composition information on the labels of numerous food categories, both in draft and final form (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1994), emphasizing the importance of valid and current food composition information for international trade, Data on the composition of ingredients is critical to predict the composition of finished products. Information about the finished (processed) food is required to verify the nutrient contents claimed on the label, The Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses has emphasized the importance of using food composition for universal definition of numerous dietary foods (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1992).

In the United States, regulations for nutrient labelling were defined in 1972, and the requirements necessitated the collection of extensive information to verify nutrient claims, Existing data compilations were helpful but inadequate for meeting the statistical and sampling requirements, and additional analytical programmes were needed. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990 (United States Public Law 102-535), for which final regulations were issued in 1993, made nutrient labelling mandatory for most packaged foods (United States Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 1993).

In the United States, the Infant Formula Act of 1980 (United States Public Law 96-359) established numerous criteria for the infant food industry to follow to raise the level of sophistication of data collection and to introduce methods for fail-safe control over nutrient contents (United States Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 1985). The statistical handling of analytical information, verification of analytical results and use of index nutrients for validation of data for groups of nutrients are most significant.

Trade associations have established technical and scientific committees of industry scientists for all food categories to address the need for technical information, the compilation of data and communication to regulatory groups and consumer audiences. The focus for trade associations has been to address problem areas, fulfil regulatory needs and manage crisis situations, The results, generally, have not been published.

INDUSTRY’S NEEDS FOR FOOD COMPOSITION INFORMATION

Industry’s needs are guided by consumer information and food safety requirements and by changes in international trade. Numerous regulations establish and define the needs.

Consumer Information

Science and technological advances in processing, storage and distribution are of growing importance in the modern food industry, Food composition information is critical for regulatory requirements and to meet consumers’ needs. More complete information provides lay consumers with an opportunity to select a diet that is or is perceived to be more healthful. The consumer demand for information is perhaps most intense in North America and Europe, but the needs are universal, regardless of geographic area, regulatory jurisdiction, level of economic development or stage of an industry’s growth.

The need to inform consumers is the most direct force that motivates food manufacturers and distributors to provide food composition information, Consumers are generally more alert about nutrition and more conscious of health matters than they were ten years ago. While the quality of their knowledge could be improved considerably, consumers’ curiosity or desire to know certainly prompts food distributors and regulators to provide information.

Among the most demanding consumers are those who require information to fulfil children’s nutritional needs for growth and development, There is also a demand for information related to the prevention of diet-related diseases. For instance, consumers are concerned about weight control and about fat, sodium and fibre intake, Health claims (for example, that foods are low in sodium, low in calories, high in potassium, etc.) abound worldwide, and analytical results are essential to establish and verify these claims.

Food safety

Food safety hazards from naturally occurring components or environmental contaminants frequently constitute an impetus to develop and maintain a food composition database. The format and sampling programme and many analyses for these components are compatible with those used for nutrients, and they can be used in cross-applications if handled judiciously. For example, several natural food components present safety risks if consumed in excess; vitamin A and salt are outstanding examples, Lead and nitrates are commonly measured food components that are also environmental food contaminants. The use of resources to obtain food composition data can be more readily justified if there is more than one potential application.

International trade

International trade agreements are rapidly developing as a result of the increasingly global nature of business and extensive changes in the food industry. The development of universal standards for the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, for example, emphasizes the necessity of universal standards for food composition information. The standards are, with few exceptions, not yet finalized, and composition data requirements remain to be defined.

The NLEA requirements and the standards of the EU and the Codex Alimentarius Commission require supporting data for substantiation of label declarations, health claims and standards of identity, Permissible variation from stated levels can be established for naturally occurring components and for nutrients added to foods, Nutrient analyses are, and will be, collected to comply with requirements, either through regulatory structures or with a system such as ISO 9000, a model quality management system developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Product formulation and evaluation

Companies use their analytical information internally in product formulation and design, They use analyses of ingredients and finished products to adjust formulations for control of organoleptic qualities and costs. Food technologists must be convinced that more precise data provide them with the opportunity to define and develop foods that are more uniform, nutritious and safe.

Food companies frequently conduct or support studies to evaluate the adequacy of a diet or of foods within a diet. This information is used in formulating or preparing foods to fulfil a perceived dietary inadequacy, Also, industry food composition information has been utilized to support scientific evaluation of foods or of food supplies. The United

States National Research Council has conducted numerous evaluations of diets or dietary factors relying on industry information in part or in total, Some examples include the Recommended dietary allowances and Pesticides in the diets of infants and children (United States National Research Council, 1989, 1993).

FUTURE NEEDS OF INDUSTRY

These are dynamic times for the entire food supply system, including the food industry. Trade is carried out on a global level, processing advances are being made and scientific developments are providing new ingredients, Some examples of recent innovations are enzymatic process aids developed through biotechnology and selected waxy maize varieties that provide more acid and heat-stable food starch. Technological changes require more detailed monitoring of composition, and analytical improvements make measurements feasible as never before.

The establishment of the extent of needs for data is vital, Foods, ingredients and the processes to be evaluated should be carefully selected. Resources are too expensive and too scarce to allow for wasted analyses, unneeded tests or collection of information for the sake of having information, Questions need to be focused to define clearly the scope and extent of food composition data needs. For example, can information that is collected to fulfil a practical need such as label verification also be used for dietary research? Conversely, can statistically validated research data be used to verify food labels? If the data quality and identification are adequate in both cases, the information should be interchangeable.

International emphasis

The provision of ingredients from sources throughout the world presents a need for accurate and contemporary composition information, Elements of ingredient or food purchase specifications require analytical verification or certification, Specifications therefore provide a potential source of information as well as an application for databases, This is particularly true for fruits and vegetables which may be used fresh or processed. An estimated 40 percent of ingredients are grown in a country other than the one in which they are processed. Transportation and reliable sources make it possible to harvest foods in the southern hemisphere for winter markets in the north, A citrus freeze in the United States no longer creates a shortage, because fruit is readily available from Brazil with a minimum price differential, However, there is a lack of valid information to document differences due to geographic, varietal and agronomic variation. Is the vitamin C content of Brazilian juice equivalent to that of juice from the United States? Varietal differences have been established for most domestic ingredients from historical information, but databases are essential to establish similarities and differences among ingredients from different countries.

Processing advances

The influences of processing on nutrients have been determined largely by monitoring for the past 50 years. There has been a distinct lack of controlled studies to define the differences in changes in nutrient content with changes in processing. For example, it is often assumed that heat processing universally reduces nutrient content. The converse can be true: processing can improve nutritional quality. For instance, heat treatment of soy flour improves protein quality and digestibility, and heat and alkali treatment of maize releases a significant portion of niacin, Food composition studies have not been conducted to determine the precise changes in heat-labile food components. It is therefore important to identify the food sample precisely.

Finished-product data can be determined from analyses made for labelling purposes, but information for comparing pre- and post-processing measurements is not generally available, The differences between values for fresh and processed food are significant, For example, the vitamin C content of processed stored orange juice from concentrate is substantially less than that of fresh orange juice, Realistic sampling and identification practices are needed, and they are often not identified in tabulation and reporting.

Processing status is not a routine part of reporting, Evaluation of processing changes is important and is often overlooked in data collection and evaluation. Processing practices are under constant modification, in most cases to make processing less severe, For example, heating processes are changed to have less influence on heat-sensitive components, In addition, it is recognized that aseptic handling of food, which involves much less total heat than conventional retort handling, results in less degradation of the colour and flavour of the food.

NEEDS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

For numerous reasons, less developed countries have greater needs for accurate food composition data than more developed nations. The nutritional adequacy of individual foods and of diets is more important in developing areas than in areas where food supplies are more adequate. Generally, the variety of foods is not as great and nutritional status is less adequate than in developed areas. Thus, individual foods are even more important than in developed areas, particularly if they are formulated, prepared foods.

Numerous products demonstrate the feasibility of producing nutritionally sound processed foods, with relatively sophisticated design, specifically for use in developing countries. If quality foods are to be developed for commercial distribution or to be manufactured for government-supported distribution, the consumers’ actual needs relative to their perceived needs must be established as thoroughly in developing countries as in more developed ones.

Calculations are needed more often in developing countries, since on-line measurement capability is lacking and resources within processing operations are limited or unavailable, Outside laboratory facilities are usually not available or lack sophistication. Accessible and understandable food composition data assist in bridging the gaps.

INDUSTRY’S ROLE IN COLLECTING DATA

Food composition data are generally collected by industry to fulfil a specific need, Therefore, the design for sampling and analysis may or may not be adequate for general usage. Moreover, the scope of foods covered is limited to the foods manufactured by the individual food company.

If industry participation is to be obtained, it is important that individual companies be encouraged. Often the resources are not available to prepare information in an acceptable form or to disseminate the information. It may be possible to encourage company participation through inducements such as data bank utilization to reduce the necessity of company analyses or appeals to the corporate responsibility of the company’s management.

The existence of information and its availability are two entirely different matters, Some food processors, for example McDonalds, Gerber, Campbell and Heinz, publish information for consumers and professionals, However, most food processors compile information to fulfil internal needs, and many consider this information proprietary. Therefore, methods for independent accumulation and evaluation are necessary, It is vital that the quality of data be scrutinized.

Utilization of the same food composition information for multiple purposes makes very good sense from the standpoints of efficiency and effectiveness. If cross-validity can be established and accepted, numerous uses are possible for the same data compilations. For example, nutrition labelling data sets should be adequate for academic dietary evaluation. Information would need to be housed at an institution with the legal and physical means of protecting and maintaining the data to ensure their integrity and quality and the ability to eliminate obsolete data. Too often, academic data are obsolete for industry use because of the delays involved in the review and publication process.

Because of the expense involved and the limitation of resources, all data sources should be included, with their validity taken into account.

CONCLUSION

The food industry has a long history of developing, using and presenting food composition information, The availability of reliable and recognized composition data is a basis for many functions within the food industry, including the design of food products, compliance with regulations and consumer communication.

The global nature of the food industry makes availability of detailed, current and extensive composition information imperative. Advances in science and technology have heightened the importance of reliable information, particularly analytical information.

Developing countries have the same needs as more advanced countries for development of food products and industries, assurance of nutritious foods and formulation of sound food policies. The principles are universal; only the resources are different.

References

Codex Alimentarius Commission. 1992, Report of the eighteenth session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. Rome, FAO/WHO.

Codex Alimentarius Commission. 1994, Report of the twenty-third session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling. Rome, FAO/WHO.

Gerber Products. 1992. Nutrient values. Publication No. 55-77, Fremont, Michigan, USA.

United States Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services. 1985. Fed. Regist., January 14,50:1840.

United States Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services. 1993. Fed. Regist., January 6, 55: 2066-2941; as amended April 1, 58: 17085-17171, April 2,58: 17328-17346 and August 18,58:44020-44090.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 1963. Composition of foods. Agriculture Handbook No. 8. Washington, DC, United States Government Printing Office.

United States National Research Council. 1989. Recommended dietary allowances, Washington, DC, National Academy Press.

United States National Research Council. 1993. Pesticides in the diets of infants and children. Washington, DC, National Academy Press.

Information sur la composition des aliments: La perspective de l’industrie alimentaire

L’industrie alimentaire a besoin de donn fiables sur la composition des aliments pour blir des normes d’adation et d’uniformites aliments; pour formuler des aliments contenant des ments nutritifs spfiques; pour acheter des ingrents alimentaires spfiques; pour se conformer aux rements ainsi que pour drminer l’adation nutritionnelle des aliments, Disposer de donn prses permet aux technologistes alimentaires de mettre au point des aliments qui soient plus uniformes, plus nutritifs et sans danger. Cependant, les diverses socis fournissent des renseignements sur une gamme limitd’aliments et de procs de transformation, et les types de renseignements donnvarient.

Dans les pays dlopp les exigences rementaires et les normes prescrivent la collecte de renseignements sur la composition des aliments aux fins de l’quetage et du commerce des denr et pour assurer leur innocuitLes associations du secteur donnent des renseignements techniques qui servent aux fins des rements et de la communication avec les ‘ consommateurs. Dans les pays en dloppement, l’industrie alimentaire a les ms exigences, mais les ressources nssaires ’boration et a diffusion des donn manquent. Les donn sur la composition des aliments sont utilis principalement pour assurer la conformitux rements inteurs, commerciaux et relatifs ’innocuites denr.

Le commerce, l’amoration des techniques de transformation et le progrscientifique font entrer de nouveaux ingrents dans le syst alimentaire. L’lution de la technologie nssite que l’on surveille la composition des aliments, et l’amoration des moyens d’analyse permet d’effectuer de meilleures mesures, On manque de donn valables pour faire apparae les diffnces dues aux variations graphiques, variles et agronomiques, de m que de donn permettant de dnir l’effet de l’lution des procs de transformation sur les teneurs en ments nutritifs. Le caract mondial de l’industrie alimentaire rend indispensable de disposer d’informations dill, our et extensives sur la composition des aliments.

La información sobre composición de alimentos desde la perspectiva de la industria alimentaria

La industria alimentaria necesita datos fiables sobre composicie alimentos para establecer normas relativas a la idoneidad y uniformidad de os, elaborar flas para alimentos con nutrientes especcos, comparar determinados ingredientes alimentarios, cumplir los reglamentos y determinar la idoneidad nutricional de los alimentos. Unos datos precisos permiten a los especialistas en tecnologalimentaria crear alimentos mas uniformes, nutritivos e inocuos, Sin embargo, las empresas sofrecen informacie carer variable sobre un n limitado de alimentos y procesos.

En los pas desarrollados, las normas y requisitos reglamentarios obligan a recoger informaciobre composicie los alimentos con fines de etiquetado, seguridad y comercio. Las asociaciones industriales proporcionan informaciica para hacer frente a la normativa y establecer una comunicacion los consumidores. En los pas en desarrollo, la industria alimentaria tiene las mismas necesidades pero carece de recursos para elaborar y difundir datos. Los datos sobre composicie alimentos se utilizan sobre todo para cumplir las normas internas sobre comercio y seguridad.

El comercio, los progresos en materia de elaboraci los adelantos cientcos estaportando nuevos ingredientes al sistema alimentario. Los cambios tecnolos requieren una vigilancia de la composicie los alimentos, mientras que las mejoras analcas permiten realizar mediciones mprecisas. Sin embargo, faltan datos vdos que indiquen si las diferencias se deben a factores geogrcos, variles o agronos, asomo datos para determinar los efectos de los cambios sobre el contenido de los nutrientes, El carer mundial de la industria alimentaria hace que la disponibilidad de informacietallada, actualizada y amplia sobre la composicie los alimentos sea una necesidad imperiosa.

Books/Livres/Libros

Food composition data: production, management and use

H. Greenfield and D.A.T. Southgate. 1992. London, Elsevier Applied Science. 243 pp. ISBN 1-85166-881-0.

This comprehensive and well-organized text makes a valuable contribution to its stated purpose of facilitating the development of international food composition databases. As the use of food composition data expands beyond traditional applications (for example, in nutritional status and dietary adequacy) into the increasingly important areas of food safety and trade, there is a critical need to coordinate database development and to promote consistent and valid analytical approaches. This publication brings together and organizes much of the basic information needed to select, analyse, compile, present and interpret food composition data. It also provides thoughtful commentary on the history and future of food composition databases as well as the problems associated with them.

The book is organized into 12 chapters, It contains six helpful appendixes that cover topics ranging from booklists to calculation procedures, as well as an extensive index. Subheadings within chapters help to guide the reader and make the text very manageable. There are numerous illustrations, flow charts and tables which quickly and easily convey complex ideas.

The first chapters provide general information on food composition data and databases, The topics covered include, for example, limitations of food composition data, objectives of programmes to compile data and approaches for determining users’ requirements. Specific guidance such as the listing of major elements in a food composition programme budget may be very helpful to those hot completely familiar with such programmes.

Other chapters deal with sampling strategies and the specific selection of foods and nutrients, Terminology is defined, variables are identified and approaches are described in considerable detail. The well-organized presentation will be especially helpful in promoting development of consistent and interchangeable data tables. The criteria for selecting nutrients are based on widely recognized approaches, and their clear and concise presentation is a valuable contribution. However, discussion of non-nutrient components such as additives, contaminants and natural toxicants is limited.

The single chapter on analytical methods contains a complete overview of methods for recognized nutrients and is extensively documented, Additional references will need to be consulted when chemical analysis is undertaken. Helpful summaries and general guidelines are provided. There are also short chapters on assuring quality of analytical data, conventions for expressing food composition data and quality considerations in the compilation of a database. The final chapters give guidelines for the use of food composition data and discuss current needs and future directions.

Food composition data: production, management and use is an important resource for those working in food composition and should be in the library of scientists, managers and policy-makers whose programmes include food composition considerations. Its basic principles are timeless. However, it is important that this text be updated periodically given the rapid changes in the science of food composition as well as in the uses of food composition data, In future editions of this book it would be beneficial to include more extensive discussion of the development and use of food composition databases to respond to newer areas of use such as nutrition labelling, trade and food safety.

Christine Lewis
Special Adviser in Nutrition,
Food and Nutrition Division

Souci, Fachmann and Kraut
Food composition and nutrition tables 1989/90
La composition des aliments - Tableaux des valeurs nutritives 1989/90
Die Zusammensetzung der Lebensmittel - Nwert - Tabellen 1989/90
Fifth edition

Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fensmittelchemie, ed. Compiled by H. Scherz and F. Senser. 1994. Stuttgart, Germany, Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers. ISBN 3-88763-027-0. 1 092 pp. Price DM 278,-.

These well-known food composition tables, founded by S.W. Souci, W. Fachmann and H, Kraut, are used by professionals and administrators in dietetic work and community nutrition activities as well as programme planning, industrial processing and research activities, This revision is a welcome update, containing 750 food items. Values are given for as many as 15 to 30 constituents per item, from a total list of 250 constituents. The book contains brief explanations of the methods and procedures used to generate or calculate the values. Apart from a useful chart showing the structure of food groups, with comments, the book omits any other nutrition information. The layout of the publication is quite clear, and each food item starts on a new page. All of the text is provided in German, English and French.

Important updates have been made. For example, more items have been included under cuts of meat, sausages and imported foods not native to Europe, Though the tables will meet a number of data needs in these areas, they are unlikely to provide all of the detail demanded by users.

Energy contents are calculated from the energy contributions made by the macronutrients, using the European Community (now European Union) directives on food identification and food component energy contents. Hence the revised edition provides data that, although collected in Germany, are comparable with those of other countries in Europe, Several important features are incorporated: b-carotene and other carotenes are separated, as are soluble, insoluble and total dietary fibre. Glutathione has been added since the previous edition, These features enhance the value of the tables.

The lack of description of sources of data Is disappointing. Users who use food composition tables to make decisions on food policy or nutrition interventions need to have details on origin, sampling and processing procedures in order to judge the extent to which the data represent the foods of interest to their work. Certainly users in industry are likely to demand more description of foods.

A related problem is the lack of definition in food names. For example, no designations of whether the item is raw or cooked, cooking procedure, recipe ingredients or proportions are given, Some of the single food items are difficult to identify for non-German users. These problems are especially troublesome for fish and for mixed and processed foods, where the names invite errors in identification even among users familiar with the German food market. As for constituent names, the target audience would be able to identify fatty acids more easily if these were listed with their carbon chain lengths and double bond positions in addition to their names.

Variation in constituent values is shown as the range of the highest and lowest values known for the item. Unfortunately, many of these fields are empty even when average values are reported. The ranges do provide important information on one aspect of data quality, but more could have been included to guide users.

The tables are very important for any professional or administrator who needs data on the composition of foods in the German market. At DM 278,- it is unlikely that the publication will be purchased for individual database users, unless they are developers of compilations. Nevertheless, these tables need to be part of any institutional collection where German and European food composition data are used in professional work, The information is also available as part of a computerized nutrient analysis programme at DM 3 460,-.

G.P. Sevenhuysen
Associate Professor,
Department of Foods and Nutrition,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Fish and fish products
Third supplement to the fifth edition of McCance and
Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods

B. Holland, J. Brown and D.H. Buss. 1993. Cambridge, UK, Royal Society of Chemistry. 135 pp. ISBN 0-85186-421-X.

This supplement to the fifth edition of The composition of foods is based on the United Kingdom Nutrient Databank which is being developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, This document is the result of the work of many parties: chemists, laboratories, government and the food industries (producers, retail dealers, etc.), It will be useful to programmes promoting the consumption of fish because of their nutritional attributes. For example, some fish contain high amounts of minerals, vitamins and fatty acids.

Information about 79 different nutrients contained in fish is provided. Data on the composition of 308 types of fish and derived foodstuffs are given. The selection of the reported species has been determined by the eating habits and culinary practices common in the United Kingdom, In fact, a dozen cooking recipes are offered. The origin of each food is clearly indicated, and an index gives its name in English, Unfortunately, the authors have neglected to list the scientific name.

Frans Sizaret
Senior Officer,
Nutrition Planning,
Assessment and Evaluation Service

Rrtoire gral des aliments, Tome 3
Table de composition des fruits exotiques, fruits de cueillette d’Afrique

Lavoisier. 1993. ISBN 2-85206-428-6 (Rrtoire gral des aliments); ISBN 2-85206-912-1 (Tome 3). 207 pages.

A l’heure oConfnce internationale sur la nutrition a relance combat contre les carences en oligo-ments et autres avitaminoses et ourgit l’intt pour la composition chimique des aliments, le Rrtoire gral des aliments du Centre informatique sur la qualites aliments (CIQAC) et du Centre national d’des vrinaires et alimentaires (CNEVA) - produit en collaboration avec l’Institut frans de recherche scientifique pour le dloppement en cooption (ORSTOM) et l’Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - met a disposition des professionnels de la nutrition de preuses fiches de composition de 143 fruits exotiques et de leurs dv(jus et fruits ses). Il s’agit de fruits produits en Afrique, certains d bien connus dans les pays dlopp d’autres moins familiers car dits de «cueillette», qui sont identifipar leur nom scientifique, frans et anglais. Cet ouvrage donne leur valeur rgque, le pourcentage de partie comestible ainsi que les teneurs en eau, protes et lipides totaux, glucides disponibles, fibres, minux et vitamines pour 100 g de partie comestible.

Les teneurs en acides aminet gras, certains sucres, oligoments, acides organiques et aminbiogs sont partais indiqu. Pour chaque donn des caractstiques statistiques (antillon, moyenne ou mane, minimum et maximum) orientent utilement les personnes intss.

Ce livre aura de nombreux utilisateurs, depuis les spalistes d’enqus de consommation alimentaire jusqu’aux responsables de projets de lutte contre certaines carences, en passant par les diticiens et nutritionnistes chargd’borer des menus ou de recommander tel ou tel aliment. En effet, eux qui prt l’utilisation de capsules contre les carences en vitamines A, ce livre rappelle que l’on peut aussi utiliser, selon les circonstances et la graphie des lieux:

· de l’abricot sec (Prunus armeniaca L), qui apporte 4 710 µg d’ivalent b-carot pour 100g;

· de la mangue frae (Mangifera indica L.), avec 3 130 µg d’ivalent b-carot;

· ou m le fruit du n (Parkia spp,), avec 2 430 µg.

Que ceux qui veulent lutter contre les carences ferriprives n’oublient pas que certains fruits sont lement remarquables:

· la pulpe de baobab (Adansonia digitata L.), avec 7,4 mg de fer pour 100 g de partie comestible;

· l’abricot sec (5,2mg/100g);

· le fruit du n (3,6mg/100g);

· et la cerise du Sgal (Aphania senegalensis) (3,0 mg/100g).

En ce qui concerne la vitamine C, c’est la cerise des Antilles (Malpighia punicifolia), avec ses 1 864 mg pour 100 g, qui reste de trloin le fruit le plus intssant, devant la goyave (Psidium guajava L,), avec 243 mg, et la pulpe du baobab (256 mg) ou de citron (52 mg).

Frans Sizaret
Fonctionnaire principal,
Service de la planification, de l’analyse et de l’luation nutritionnelles

Quality assurance principles for analytical laboratories

F. M. Garfield. 1991. Arlington, Virginia, USA, Association of Official Analytical Chemists. 196 pp. ISBN 0-935584-46-3. Price US$63 in North America, US$69 outside North America.

This publication is useful as a management guide for establishing a quality assurance programme in chemical laboratories. It draws from principles, guidelines and procedures taken from laboratory-accrediting organizations, government regulations and generally accepted scientific practices. Since the function of a laboratory is to produce valid, accurate and reproducible results, it follows that a laboratory must operate not only under a system of written standard operating procedures (SOPs) but also under a planned quality assurance system which ensures that the quality control procedures are in fact being followed in the laboratory.

The publication discusses statistical applications for monitoring the quality of data produced in the laboratory; the role of laboratory management and staff in a quality assurance system; the need for equipment maintenance and calibration records; and the importance of strict accountability for chemicals, standards and culture media. It provides information on maintaining the integrity of samples and analytical records, and it includes a commentary on the use of computer systems for capturing and storing laboratory data. The book also contains useful information on sampling procedures, selection of analytical methodology and test equipment to minimize systematic errors. Also included are suggestions for carrying out intra- and interlaboratory proficiency testing and quality assurance audit procedures to provide documentary evidence of the accuracy and validity of test results.

Although the author states that “the importance of written procedures when a precise level of performance is required cannot be overemphasized”, it seems that he has blurred the distinction between quality assurance and quality control, When he speaks of the quality assurance manual in the chapter on quality assurance planning, he focuses too much on the quality assurance aspect and not enough on the quality control aspect. One cannot have a quality assurance programme without a system of quality control. i.e. written SOPs that must always be followed for common laboratory procedures such as the preparation, standardization and labelling of standard solutions. Thus, the compilation of SOPs in the quality assurance manual should have received more emphasis.

Nevertheless the book represents a comprehensive treatment of all the numerous considerations that must be addressed when planning a quality assurance programme for the laboratory.

Ernest L. Brisson
Consultant

Edible wild plants of sub-Saharan Africa

C.R. Peters, E.M. O’Brien and R.B. Drummond. l992. Kew, UK, Royal Botanic Gardens. 239 pp. ISBN 0-947643-51-6.

This publication, subtitled “An annotated checklist, emphasizing the woodland and savanna floras of eastern and southern Africa, including the plants utilized for food by chimpanzees and baboons”, has been created as part of a long-term project involving the compilation of ecological information on the indigenous edible wild plants of sub-Saharan Africa. The research, supported by the University of Georgia, USA, and Oxford University, UK, constitutes an important contribution to a more systematic promotion of underexploited local foods as an element of sustainable household food security.

In Edible wild plants of sub-Saharan Africa, all the plants that the existing literature reports to be used as food have been identified as “edible”. Unfortunately, in its present state, this checklist is essentially a nomenclature of botanic names, For development institutions that lack botanical expertise, this book is of limited use. Furthermore, to be of use to nutritionists, such publications should concentrate on foods for human consumption.

In spite of its weaknesses, with several modifications this text could be useful for a wider audience, First, since non-specialists are likely to hear plants mentioned by their local names, it would be helpful if the different local names for a given plant species were registered. Also, a system for finding the scientific name from the local name should be built into the book. Second, the checklist does not provide information on the habitat and distribution of these plants, although the importance of this information is referred to in the introduction. Readers interested in a given geographical area or ecosystem should have a means of knowing what food species are likely to be available in their area, Third, when available, food preparation techniques and the food composition of these plants should be incorporated. It is likely, however, that this information is scarce and that retrieving indigenous knowledge in this field would require a specific research programme. Indeed, such a programme would be timely, as much of the indigenous information is at risk of being lost.

The title of this book may be misleading, since it gives the impression that the book is comprehensive and includes all edible food plants in sub-Saharan Africa. While the bibliography is most interesting, it reveals that the checklist draws essentially from English publications and that it emphasizes the woodland and savannah flora of eastern and southern Africa, It is likely that a similar work drawn from French, Portuguese and Spanish publications could provide a useful complement to this text and could fill in the gaps mentioned by the authors (e.g. Guineo-Congolian forest).

Florence Egal
Nutrition Officer,
Nutrition Programmes Service

Food fortification in developing countries

P. Nestel. 1993. Washington, DC, Office of Nutrition, Bureau of Research and Development, United States Agency for International Development. 47 pp.

This booklet describes current practices for adding vitamin A, iron, iodine and multinutrient premixes to foods. Dr Nestel discusses several countries’ practices in food fortification and describes the foods that are used to carry the nutrients.

The advantages and disadvantages of fortification are elaborated. For instance, difficulties can occur in attempts to reach the target population groups. Since foods must be centrally processed, distribution of the products adds to the cost of this strategy. In addition, legislation and quality control are necessary to ensure that the product satisfies the nutritional objectives.

Food fortification in developing countries makes the important point that monitoring and evaluation of fortification programmes are currently difficult, in part because of the lack of a defined methodology and backup laboratory facilities. Because of this difficulty, it is sometimes difficult to convince potential development assistance donors of the effectiveness of fortification.

The economic aspects and sustainability of food fortification are also covered in some detail. Examples of different legal approaches regarding fortification in developing countries are provided.

In the chapter entitled “Future directions”, Dr Nestel emphasizes the need for more dietary surveys and effective screening methods for identification of nutrient deficiencies, She notes the importance of food quality and standards in relation to food fortification, noting in particular the work and role of FAO.

This publication should prove useful to all those interested in food fortification, including nutritionists, food scientists, food manufacturers, administrators and policy-makers.

Ezzedine Boutrif
Senior Officer,
Food Quality and Standards Service

Tropical forests, people and food: biocultural interactions and applications to development

C.M. Hladik, A. Hladik, O.F. Linares, H. Pagezy, A. Semple and M. Hadley, eds. 1993. Man and the Biosphere Series, Vol. 13. Paris, Unesco/Parthenon Publishing Group. 852 pp. ISBN 1-85070-380-9.

This book is the outcome of an international scientific symposium held in Paris from 10 to 13 September 1991, The interdisciplinary symposium aimed to review the current understanding and recent advances with respect to potential food production, biological adaptations, socio-cultural background and feeding strategies of human populations in tropical forest environments and to identify possible applications of such knowledge to development projects and processes. The symposium was organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France, with the technical and financial support of various institutions, including FAO.

Researchers who are interested in the interactions between biology and culture in relation to food and nutrition in the humid tropics are the intended primary audience for this work. However, most of the concepts developed and illustrated are widely applicable, and this publication should be considered an essential reference for policy-makers concerned with sustainable development in forested areas. Specific articles could prove quite useful also to development staff working in the study areas.

The sections entitled “Food production and nutritional value of wild and semi-cultivated species”, “Adaptive aspects of food consumption and energy expenditure” and “Cultural factors in food choices” are particularly relevant to nutritionists, This publication certainly contributes to filling the knowledge gap regarding foods from the forest. Therefore, wide usage of Tropical forests, people and food by development institutions would be highly desirable.

The book has the merit of presenting high-quality scientific information in a relatively accessible style. The different articles can be read independently, and the format adopted is user friendly, However, it is to be expected that the very size of this publication will discourage potential readers. Effective dissnation of relevant information to specific potential users will require an active effort by interested institutions. For example, they would need to prepare excerpts in simple language leading to clear recommendations. Bridging the communication gap between researchers and development staff is essential to the necessary exchange of information and the successful development of interdisciplinary approaches.

Florence Egal
Nutrition Officer,
Nutrition Programmes Service

African refugees: development aid and repatriation

H. Adelman and I. Sorenson, eds. 1994. Boulder, Colorado, USA, Westview Press/North York, Ontario, Canada, York Lanes Press. ISBN 0-8133-8460-5. Price US$49.95.

African refugees offers a good general overview of the complex issues surrounding the refugee problem. The book is divided into four parts covering legal issues, basic needs, integration and repatriation, and development.

In the single chapter in Part One, C.J. Bakwesegha advocates a point which is repeated throughout the book, that internally displaced populations are as deserving and in need of assistance as refugees who have migrated across an international border. Nearly 70 percent of displaced populations never leave their nation of origin but face conditions as harsh as those abroad. Bakwesegha reports that in 1990 there were over 5.5 million African refugees according the traditional definition (i.e. those who have left their own country), but there were 12 million Africans who were Internally displaced and not receiving assistance, The book justly bids donor agencies to assist all refugees regardless of their nationality. Later, in Part Three, T, Kuhlman states that laws denying legal or employee rights to refugees or restricting their travel should be amended.

The second part, entitled “ Basic needs and refugees”, examines extensively the history of refugees in the horn of Africa, specifically in the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the Sudan. Case-studies effectively illustrate the causes of refugee flows, forms of settlement and the role of relief organizations, Sorenson gives a convincing portrayal of the effectiveness of the Eritrean Relief Association (ERA) in sustaining Eritrean refugees during the country’s many years of repression and war.

Part Three addresses the traditional solutions of integration and repatriation. The consensus among the authors is that assistance should be redirected towards “self-settled” refugees who live outside camps in the cities or villages, but ultimately, voluntary repatriation is the most cost-effective, long-term solution to refugee problems, Kuhlman shows that organized settlement schemes receive most of the aid but comprise only 25 percent of refugee populations.

The authors of Part Four collectively call for development programmes in place of the relief assistance normally granted refugees. This resounding theme corresponds to the objectives set forth by many organizations, including FAO, but neglects to discuss the magnitude of the task. Development demands long-term commitment by all parties involved. This is not always feasible in the impermanent context of refugee environments, and situations will arise that require donor agencies to be mobilized to provide relief and humanitarian assistance. In the final chapter. Gorman calls for further research to document accurately the number of refugees and their true impact on host countries.

Lora Iannotti
Associate Professional Officer,
Nutrition Planning, Assessment and Evaluation Service

Where did all the men go? Female-headed/female-supported households in cross-cultural perspective

J.P. Mencher and A. Okongwu, eds. 1993. Boulder, Colorado, USA, Westview Press. 282 pp. ISBN 0-8133-8540-7. Price US$38.

This book examines female-headed/female-supported households in a variety of local contexts and links them to wider economic, social and political processes. Case-studies from different regions of the world highlight the ways in which female-headed/female-supported households function, their diverse strategies for survival and the differences and similarities between these households and the more traditional male-headed/male-supported households. The sharp and steady increase in the number of female-headed households has stimulated a resurgence of interest in this subject on the part of social scientists and policy-makers. Cross-cultural analysis has resulted in the identification of four major aspects of headship: authority or power; decision-making; source of economic support; and in some instances, control over and possession of children in case of divorce or death, The crucial determinant of headship has been found to be the ability to control and dispose of the resources of the household, rather than the ability to produce these resources.

The authors’ stated aim is that the cross-cultural examination of female-headed/female-supported households presented in the book will enable researchers to explore the range of factors leading to the emergence of female-headed households; to examine the impact of variations in religious, ideological and cultural traditions in defining male, female and children’s roles and family organization; to examine the impact of socio-economic factors and the particular ways in which structures of inequality manifest themselves at a given time; to examine the critical role of class or differential access to income in a wide variety of societies and circumstances as they condition the life chances of children, women and even some of the men in these households; to examine the role of race and/or caste as it impinges on the lives of young women and men during their formative years; to look at differences in the role of the State in providing supplemental support for some female-headed/female-supported households; and to examine how each nation is integrated into the world economic system, which in turn influences the resources held by the State and made available to female-headed as well as male-headed households, and the possible strategies available to each for survival.

Most of the papers point to policy concerns and some possible solutions, All of the authors wonder which policies would provide women with viable choices of sustenance for themselves and for their kin, Specific emphasis is put on the urgent need for increased employment of women, especially those who are the main support of their households.

This publication could serve both scholars and policy-makers who are concerned with the increasing number of female-headed households in both developed and developing countries.

M.J. Mermillod
Senior Officer, Home Economics,
Division of Women and People’s Participation in Development

News/Nouvelles/Noticias

MANUAL ON HUMAN ENERGY REQUIREMENTS AVAILABLE IN PORTUGUESE

Accurate estimation of human energy requirements is an ongoing area of nutrition research that has important policy implications for nutrition planning. Human energy requirements: a manual for planners and nutritionists, by W.P.J. James and E.C. Schofield, originally copublished by FAO and Oxford University Press in English in 1990, has been translated into Portuguese. Necessidades humanas de energ um manual para planejadores e nutricionistas (1994. ISBN 85-240-0501-7, 144pp.) has been published by and is available through the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Funda Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatica, IBGE), Rio de Janeiro. The manual has been translated into French and Chinese as well.

The manual presents a practical approach to calculating population energy needs, It is intended for use by economists, planners and nutritionists who deal with problems of food supply at the national and regional levels.

The manual uses recent data on basal metabolic rates and energy expenditure of different population groups to estimate energy needs. The methodology allows for changes in body weight and height and for differing physical activity of children and adults.

A software package, ENREQ2, has been designed to accompany this book, It is currently available in English, French and Spanish, The package is available through the FAO Food and Nutrition Division.

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture reflects the concerns of the Food and Nutrition Division of FAO, covering topics such as nutrition planning, assessment and evaluation; nutrition programmes; and food quality and safety. The review welcomes articles of interest to its readers working in government institutions, universities, research centres, non-governmental organizations, the food industry and the communications media in 169 countries.

Articles may be written in English, French or Spanish. The style should be clear, concise and easy to understand, avoiding journalistic terms, colloquial expressions and professional jargon. Articles may be 2 500 to 5 000 words in length, with no more than six tables and fewer than 35 references. Complete references must be provided when factual material and other viewpoints are mentioned. References require author name(s), date, title, place of publication and publisher (for books), journal title, volume and pages (for articles).

A summary of approximately 350 words and biographical information (35 words or less) about the author(s) should accompany the article. The article will be published in the original language and FAO will translate the summary into the other two languages of the review. Manuscripts must be typed and double spaced. When possible, provision of a word-processing diskette is appreciated. Tables, graphics and photographs should be provided on separate sheets with a title and number indicating their place in the text.

Manuscripts are reviewed by the Food and Nutrition Division, and the decision to publish an article is made by the Editorial Advisory Board. Copyrights and other ownership rights are vested in the Food and Agriculture Organization, which usually grants permission to the author to reproduce the article. Authors should clearly state whether material included in a manuscript has been copyrighted elsewhere and certify that they have permission to use the material. When printed, up to 25 copies of the issue containing the article will be sent to the author free of charge.

Correspondence and manuscripts should be addressed to: Technical Editor, Food, Nutrition and Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

UN MANUEL SUR LES BESOINS HUMAINS EN ERGIE EST DISPONIBLE EN PORTUGAIS

L’estimation exacte des besoins humains en rgie est un domaine actuel de la recherche nutritionnelle qui a d’importantes rrcussions sur la politique grale de planification nutritionnelle. Besoins humains en rgie: manuel ’intention des planificateurs et des nutritionnistes, par W.P.J, James et E.C. Schofield (la version originale en anglais a copublipar la FAO et Oxford University Press en 1990), vient d’e traduit en portugais sous le titre: Necessidades humanas de energ um manual para planejadores e nutricioristas (1994, ISBN 85-240-0501-7, 144 pages), L’ouvrage, publiar l’Institut brlien de graphie et de statistique, est disponible auprde cet institut (Funda Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatica, IBGE, Rio de Janeiro). Il a lement traduit en chinois.

Le manuel prnte une approche pratique du calcul des besoins en rgie des populations, II est destinux nomistes, planificateurs et nutritionnistes qui s’occupent de probls d’approvisionnement alimentaire aux niveaux national et ronal.

Pour estimer les besoins d’rgie, le manuel utilise des donn rntes sur les taux de mbolisme basal et de dnses rgques de diffnts groupes de population. La modologie prit des variations de poids et de hauteur corporels, ainsi que les activitphysiques des enfants et des adultes.

Un progiciel, ENREQ2, accompagne ce manuel. Il est actuellement disponible en anglais, en espagnol et en frans et peut e obtenu auprde la Division de l’alimentation et de la nutrition de la FAO.

PRINCIPES L’USAGE DES AUTEURS

Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture traite de domaines dans lesquels s’exercent les activitde la Division de l’alimentation et de la nutrition de la FAO - planification, luation nutritionnelle, programmes nutritionnels, qualitt innocuites aliments. La revue accueille avec intt des articles pouvant intsser ses lecteurs qui travaillent dans les institutions gouvernementales, les universitet les centres de recherche, les organisations non gouvernementales, l’industrie alimentaire et les mas de 169 pays.

Les articles peuvent e its en frans, en anglais ou en espagnol. Ils doivent e rgdans un style clair et concis, faciles omprendre, ter les termes journalistiques, les expressions familis et le jargon professionnel. Ils doivent avoir une longueur de 2 500 000 mots, plus un nombre raisonnable de tableaux et de rrences (pas plus de six et moins de 35 respectivement). Des notes compls doivent e ajout si des rrences factuelles et d’autres points de vue sont mentionn Lorsque des ouvrages sont cit il faut indiquer le nom du ou des auteurs, la date de parution, le titre complet, l’teur et le lieu de publication. Pour les articles cit donner le nom du ou des auteurs, la date, le titre de l’article, le titre complet de la publication, le volume et les pages.

Un rm’environ 350 mots et une notice biographique de 35 mots au maximum doivent accompagner l’article. Il sera publians la langue originale et la FAO traduira le rmans les deux autres langues de la revue. Les manuscrits doivent e dactylographien double interligne. Dans la mesure du possible les auteurs sont pride fournir une disquette. Les tableaux, graphiques et photographies doivent e fournis sur des feuilles sr, porter un titre, un num et l’indication de l’endroit o doivent e inss dans le texte.

Les manuscrits sont examinpar la Division de l’alimentation et de la nutrition, et la dsion de les publier est prise par le comite rction. Les droits d’auteur et autres droits relatifs au manuscrit sont dlus ’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture, qui autorise habituellement l’auteur eproduire son article. L’auteur doit indiquer clairement les parties du manuscrit qui font d l’objet de droits d’auteur ou autres droits de propri et certifier qu’il est autoris les utiliser. Lorsque l’article est publi25 exemplaires au maximum du num en question sont envoygratuitement ’auteur.

La correspondance et les manuscrits sont dresser a Rctrice technique, Alimentation, nutrition et agriculture, Division de l’alimentation et de la nutrition, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome (Italie).

UN MANUAL SOBRE LAS NECESIDADES HUMANAS DE ENERGIA SE PUBLICA EN PORTUGUES

La estimacixacta de las necesidades humanas de energes un aspecto de la investigaciue tiene repercusiones normativas importantes para la planificacin materia de nutriciHuman energy requirements: a manual for planners and nutritionists, par W.P.J. James y E.C, Schofield, coeditado originalmente por la FAO y la Oxford University Press, y publicado en inglen 1990, se ha traducido al portugu Necessidades humanas de energia: um manual para planejadores e nutricionistas (1994, ISBN 85-240-0501-7, 144 pp.) puede obtenerse a travdel Instituto Brasilee Geografy Estadica (Funda Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatica - IBGE), Rio de Janeiro. Tambiha sido traducido al francy al chino.

En se presenta un mdo prico para calcular las necesidades de energde la poblaciEstirigido a economistas, planificadores y nutricionistas que se ocupan de los problemas del suministro alimentario a nivel nacional y regional.

En el manual se utilizan datos recientes sobre tasas de metabolismo basal y consumo de energde diferentes grupos de la poblaciara estimar las necesidades energcas. La metodologaplicada tiene en cuenta las variaciones en el peso corporal y la altura y las actividades fcas de niy adultos, Para acompael libro se ha preparado un conjunto de programas informcos denominado ENREQ2, disponible actualmente en espa france ingl Estos programas pueden solicitarse a la Direccie Alimentaci Nutricie la FAO.

ORIENTACIONES PARA LOS AUTORES

La revista AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura trata temas de interpara la Direccie Alimentaci Nutricie la FAO, incluyendo actividades de planificaciapreciaci evaluacielacionadas con la nutriciprogramas de nutriciy calidad e inocuidad de los alimentos. La revista acepta artlos de interpara sus lectores que trabajan en instituciones gubernamentales, universidades y centros de investigaciorganizaciones no gubernamentales, asomo en la industria alimentaria y en los medios de comunicacie 169 pas.

Los manuscritos podrser redactados en espa franco ingl El estilo deberer claro, conciso y fl de entender, evitando tinos periodicos, expresiones coloquiales y jergas profesionales. Los artlos podrtener de 2 500 a 5 000 palabras y se recomienda un mmo de seis cuadros y 35 referencias. Deberfacilitarse referencias completas cuando se den datos objetivos o se citen puntos de vista de otros autores; en el caso de libros, se deberndicar el apellido y la inicial del nombre del autor o autores, el ae publicaciel tlo completo, el lugar de publicaci la editorial. En el caso de artlos: autor(es), atlo del artlo, tlo completo de la publicacivolumen y n de las pnas.

El artlo ircompa de un resumen de 350 palabras aproximadamente y de una nota biogrca (que no exceda de 35 palabras) sobre el autor. Se publicarn el idioma original y la FAO traducirl resumen a los otros dos idiomas de la revista. Los manuscritos deberestar mecanografiados a doble espacio. Se agradecerl env siempre que sea posible, de un disquete que contenga el artlo. Los cuadros, grcos y fotograf deberpresentarse en hojas aparte, con un tlo y n, e indicando su lugar en el texto.

Los manuscritos serrevisados por la Direccie Alimentaci Nutricie la FAO y la decisioncerniente a su publicacia tomarl Comitsesor editorial. Los derechos de propiedad y otros derechos de autor correspondera la FAO, que suele conceder permiso al autor para reproducir su artlo. Los autores deberindicar claramente quateria] del manuscrito tiene ya derechos de autor concedidos y certificar que han obtenido el permiso para utilizarlo. Una vez publicado el artlo, se enviargratuitamente al autor 25 ejemplares del n de la revista que lo contiene.

La correspondencia y los manuscritos deberdirigirse a: Redactora tica, AlimentaciNutrici Agricultura, Direccie Alimentaci NutriciFAO. Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Roma, Italia.

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CODEX FACTS AND NOTES

A bulletin of information about the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission

CODEX FACTS 01-95

FACT SHEET

Codex Facts and Notes: Involving people in the work of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission

How many people know about the “Codex Alimentarius Commission” or what it does to help protect consumers’ health and at the same time ensure fair practices in international food trade.

Codex Facts and Notes are now being issued by the Secretariat of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme to help people get to know about Codex: people in government, people in industry, people in universities and schools, and everyday consumers. Codex Facts and Notes will he issued through national Codex Contact Points on a regular basis. We plan to issue about 10 Fact Sheets and Notes each year.

Codex Facts will contain information about the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its work. They will announce the publication of Codex food standards, describe the work of the Codex specialist Committees, and provide general factual information.

Codex Notes will keep up-to-date with important developments within Codex, especially for topics that are still being debated by Codex Member Countries.

The Codex Secretariat hopes that Codex Facts and Notes will help people understand the work of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme and encourage them to become involved through their national Codex Contact Points with the Commission’s work.

For more information about Codex Facts and Notes, contact:

Secretariat of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy

Telephone: (39-6)5225.1
Telefax: (39-6) 5225.3152/5225.4593
Telex: 610181 FAO I
E-mail (INTERNET): CODEX@FAO.ORG

Issued by the Secretariat of the Joint FAO/WKO Food Standards Programme (Codex Alimentarius) FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy


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