Uses and abuses of food composition Uses and abuses of food composition data Proceedings of a Symposium

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  • Uses and abuses of food composition data

    Proceedings of a Symposium held at the University of New South Wales, 25 and 26 September, 1989, organised by the Dietitians' Association of Australia (NSW), the Council of Australian Food Technology Associations and the Department of Food Science and Technology, UNSW.

    H. Greenfield, editor Introduction S4 Composition of foods, Australia R. English S5 Food composition data and clinical dietetics D. Foote S8 Food composition data in clinical research J. Allen S10 The uses of food composition data in nutritional epidemiology

    K.I. Baghurst and P.A. Baghurst S l l

    Food composition data and the National Heart Foundation's Food Approval Program B. Haddy S14 Sampling foods for nutrient composition studies J. Cunningham S16 Data production and data quality assurance in a nutrient analysis program

    P. Scheelings and D. Buick S18

    Compilation and scrutiny of food composition data K. Cashel S21 Food composition data in the promotion of lean meat in Australia L. Fantini S25 Food composition data in the promotion of canned foods A.K. Wailes S29 The development of a special purpose food composition data base for industry J.A. Barnes S32 Food composition data use for food legislation purposes R. Peters S36 The New Zealand food composition data bases B.A. Burlingame S39 Recommendations S44 This publication is reproduced with permission of the copyright holder, H. Greenfield. Copies of these proceedings are available from A/Prof. H. Greenfield, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of New South Wales, PO Box 1, Kensington NSW 2033 at a cost of $A12 (includes postage). Make cheques and money orders payable to Dept. of Food Science and Technology, UNSW.

  • Introduction


    he idea for this Symposium arose from the realisation in 1987 that

    although publication of the new Australian food composition tables, Composition of foods, Australia (Cashel & others 1989) was imminent, there had been very little public discussion by intending users about the new analytical data and the associated new tables and computerised data base. Those who had been involved in the analytical work and subsequent publications at the University of New South Wales were conscious of the level of misunderstanding among some readers who had written with requests for clarification of points related to the meaning, derivation or use of the data. These requests had already exposed the lack of training among some users in the scientific meaning and appropriate use of nutrient composition data.

    It was therefore decided to hold a meeting which would enable scientists who had been involved in the Australian analytical program to give outline presentations on how the work had been carried out, and to enable some major users in various fields to discuss their requirements and current uses of data. The Symposium was held on 25 and 26 September, 1989, at the University of New South Wales and was attended by about 200 people from industry, health and consumer organisations, hospitals, academia, and research institutions. These Symposium proceedings contain the papers presented on sampling, on data production and analytical quality assurance, and on data scrutiny and compilation. In addition there are papers outlining the use of food composition data and data bases or tables in dietetics, clinical research, nutritional epidemiology, health promotion, food legislation and the food industry, particularly in product advertising. In

    view of the importance of regional cooperation, there is also a paper on New Zealand's food composition program. A number of recommendations were drawn up by four workshops and agreed to in plenary session. These recommendations conclude the printed proceedings.

    In the USA, a National Nutrient Databank Conference is held annually in different states (eg Morgan 1980) and many other countries are now also beginning to hold national meetings (eg FNRI 1985). In Australia the first such meeting was held at the University of New South Wales in 1980 (Greenfield & Wills 1981) and it is hoped that other national meetings will be held from time to time to increase knowledge about the national food composition data base and to learn how to exploit it fully and appropriately. It is anticipated that the computerised data base will become an everyday tool for all working in the field of nutrition in Australia in the coming years. This makes it even more important that users become more informed and knowledgeable about the data and their appropriate use, as well as computer-literate. The power of the computer data base and the situation created by ongoing releases of data and the associated costs could lead to a proliferation of different versions in use, and easy access by untrained users, both situations with the potential for abuse or inappropriate use. It is also clear that nutrient composition data will grow in importance for nutrition education and consumer education. Industry has long recognised the importance of creating its own nutrient data bases and the mutual benefits of the process to industry, research and the consumer alike (Gurr 1989). Other professional groups must not lag behind in knowledge about the nutrient composition of foods and the

  • applications of the data, and should not hesitate to make their voices heard on needs for data and data formats.

    The Symposium organisers wish to thank those who participated in the Symposium, including those who displayed posters or who demonstrated software packages, those who assisted with publicity (eg Food Australia, the Nutrition Society of Australia, the Home Economics Association of Australia, and regional groups of the Dietitians' Association of Australia), the organisations who sponsored the participation of speakers (Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health, Canned Food Information Service Inc, National Heart Foundation) and the organisations who assisted with the costs of publication of these Proceedings: CSR Refined Sugars and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation. Finally we thank the many students and staff of the University of New South Wales, who assisted with organisation on the two days of the Symposium. References Food and Nutrition Research Institute/National Research Council of the Philippines. 1985. Proceedings of the first national workshop on food composition data generation, compilation and use. Manila: FNRI. Greenfield, H & Wills, RBH (eds). 1981. Tables of food composition: an Australian perspective. Food Technol. Aust. 33: 101–31. Gurr, MI. 1989. Has the food industry benefited from the science of nutrition? Proc. Nutr. Soc. 48: 159–63. Morgan, KJ (ed). 1980. Proceedings of the fifth national nutrient data bank conference. East Lansing MI: Michigan State University.

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  • Composition of foods, Australia R. English

    T his paper continues the story about establishing a national data base on the nutrient content of the Australian food supply. At an earlier meeting held at the University of New South Wales (Greenfield & Wills 1981) I presented a paper Australian food tables — some glimpses into the past (English 1981). At that time the food analytical program for the current revision had just commenced and the paper detailed the history of the development of food composition data bases in this country. The present paper tells the story behind the present revision program at least up to the publication of the 1989 edition of Composition of foods, Australia (Cashel & others 1989). 1978 Working Party on Food Composition Data The history of the revision program commenced in 1978 when the Working Party on Food Composition Data of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) was established and held its first meeting on 22 August 1978. Its terms of reference were: To draw up a plan for the central collection of data on food composition in Australia; to identify the nutrients and other food components (eg additives) for which data are to be collected and the form in which they should be recorded and distributed to the public; and, to identify analytical and research facilities which could participate in a collaborative survey of food composition by direct analysis. The membership of that Working Party comprised:

    Mrs Ruth English is Chief Nutritionist, Commonwealth Department of Community