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 Updated 2020-10-27

 Components in Food Composition Databases

The components in food composition databases are the descriptors (identifiers) that are used to identify the chemical sustances, compounds or physico-chemical properties to which the reported values relate.
The components are typically defined with a more or less complete description and are typically held in a simple list or in a more complex thesaurus (or ontology) in a database or printed form.

The list or thesaurus entry normally includes the descriptor and its corresponding component name, a scope note to define usage of the term and additional information.

A few typical examples of these lists or thesauri ("systems") are in non-prioritised order

Several of the listed examples cross-link to other component lists, e.g. ChEBI links to CAS Numbers and IUPAC names, the EuroFIR Thesaurus link to ChEBI identifiers and INFOODS food component identifiers, etc.

Although there is an ongoing discussion of which system is best or to use, it is evident the use of a "system" must match its purpose. As the different "systems" are constructed for specific and/or different purposes, the food composition data compiler is often in the situation that there is a need for applying several of the systems in parallel. This is especially the cases when the food composition database contains information from several different component groups, e.g. nutrient, heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, etc., which is most likely the case in modern laboratory information management systems (LIMS).

The typical component thesaurus is organised into a hierarchy that uses group headings that are not used to identify components for individual compositional values. A term or group heading may be linked to more than one parent term in the hierarchy (a poly-hierarchy), e.g. L-Ascorbic acid can be both a naturally occuring nutient (vitamin) and a food additive (antioxidant).

A component thesaurus also includes descriptors for measurable properties such as density, pH, edible proportion, etc. so that their values can also be reported using the Value entity.

For an in depth description of nutrients and their roles, see the excellent accumulated set of nutrient information articles from the American Society of Nutrition's review journal, Advances in Nutrition.  

2021 Release of the New Zealand Food Composition Database.

The 2021 update of New Zealand food composition database (NZFCD) released online on 31st March 2022. For more information, see the EuroFIR website.
7th edition of the Belgian food composition table.

New version of the Belgian printed food composition table. For more information, see the EuroFIR website.
First edition of the Kyrgyz Food Composition Table.

Kyrgyzstan has released their first national food composition table. For more information, see the EuroFIR website.
Version 6.4 of the Swiss food composition database.

The updated Swiss Food Composition Database includes new data from analyses of minerals and vitamins carried out in Switzerland, see the FSVO website.