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Data Presentation

 Updated 2015-08-15

 The Balaton Recommendations

Although they are more than 15 years old, some of The Balaton Recommendations for Publishing Food Composition Data on the Internet (Turza, Ireland and Møller) still hold.

The Balaton Recommendations contain a set of Minimal Recommendations for the Layout of the Web Page, i.e. publishing food composition data on the Internet.
The original Recommendations (Turza et al) can be found in the references below.

As shown in the table metaphor - simple representation of data in a food composition table (modified from Schlotke et al):

The three main entities to be presented are as a minimum

  • Food
  • Component
  • Value (the best location, i.e. value chosen to represent the amount of the component in the food, most often - but not always - a mean value and its unit, and may include minimum, maximum, number of datapoints/number of studies/degrees of freedom, etc.)

However, the increasing use of food composition data - also in data interchange - calls for more specific information, which describes values better. This information includes

  • Method (how was the value derived, e.g. by analysis, calculation, estimation, etc.)
  • Reference (where the data come from, i.e. citation/bibliographic reference)

This means that the original two-dimensional representation of data becomes multi-dimensional, and a challenge to represent on a web page.

For data interchange and presentation, the EuroFIR community set in the EuroFIR Draft Standard as a minimum the following information to be provided:

  • Food (including name, food id, food group, EuroFIR classification)
  • Component (including EuroFIR component identifier)
  • Value (including unit, matrix unit, number of datapoints (if applicable), value type, acquisition type, method type, method indicator, method parameter (if applicable))
  • Method specificaction (optional)
  • Reference (citation/bibliographic reference (if applicable))

For an explanation of the EuroFIR thesauri for value documentation, see the appropriate EuroFIR reports listed in the references (Møller et al, Becker et al) below.


  • Sandor Turza, Jayne Ireland and Anders Møller:
    Recommendations For Publishing Food Composition Data On The Internet - Minimal Recommendations for the Layout of the Web Page.
    Joint BALATON/COST Action 99 workshop held in Paris on 7-11 May 1999.
  • Schlotke F., Becker W., Ireland J., Møller A., Ovaskainen M.L., Monspart J., Unwin I.:
    Recommendations for Food Composition Database Management and Interchange.
    Report by the COST Action 99 – Eurofoods Working Group on Food Data Management and Interchange.
    Report No. EUR 19538, European Commission, 2000.
  • Becker W., Unwin I., Ireland J., Møller A.:
    Proposal for structure and detail of a EuroFIR standard on food composition data.
    I: Description of the standard.
    EuroFIR Technical Report - 2007-07-13.
  • Becker W., Møller A., Ireland J., Roe M., Unwin I., Pakkala H.:
    Proposal for structure and detail of a EuroFIR Standard on food composition data.
    II. Technical Annex - Version 2008. EuroFIR Technical Report D1.8.19.
    Danish Food Information 2008. ISBN 978-87-92125-10-1.
  • Møller A., Unwin I.D., Ireland J., Roe M.A, Becker W., Colombani P.:
    The EuroFIR Thesauri 2008.
    EuroFIR Technical Report D1.8.22.
    Danish Food Information 2008.
    ISBN 978-87-92125-09-5  


Swedish Food Composition Database

A new version of the Swedish Food Composition Database released by the National Food Administration, see Livsmedeldatabasen.
FoodData Central
October 2020 release.

A new version of the USDA ARS FoodData Central was released October 2020.
For more information, see FoodData Central website.
The French Ciqual 2020 table is online

With 3,185 foods and 67 constituents, the 2020 version of the Ciqual table is available. See the ANSES-CIQUAL website.
First Anniversary release of USDA ARS FoodData Central

For more information, see USDA National Agricultural Library's Food and Nutrition Updates - May 2020.