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Improving food composition data by standardizing calculation methods

image of Improving food composition data by standardizing calculation methods

Food composition data is important in nutritional policy making. However, food analyses are expensive and to use analysed values only is not economically justifiable; hence recipe calculations are important for the quality of food composition databases. The aim with this project, financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers, was to improve and standardize the recipe calculation method. A general recipe calculation method was developed, implemented and validated by comparing analysed and calculated content. The method and the foods recalculated within the project will be used in national dietary surveys and are available to the public through the national food composition databases. This report may be used as a guide through recipe calculations. Furthermore, the importance of well-structured methods for recipe calculations and possible consequences otherwise are highlighted.

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Discussion

The current method is overall in line with other recommendations regarding recipe calculations (Norfoods 2000, 2002: Greenfield and Southgate, 2003; Reinivou et al. 2009) except for how to handle yield factors. In the methods suggested by Greenfield and Southgate (2003) and by Reinivou et al. (2009) yield factors should be applied at recipe level because it is most common approach. However, due to last years progress of softwares for food composition data, application of yield factors on recipe level due to convenience is no longer necessary in many countries. In the current method we thereby applied yield factors at the ingredient level since different ingredients, e.g. tomato and fish, will not loose the same amount of water during preparation.

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