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US launches database to improve food composition transparency

FBR Staff Writer Published 21 September 2016

US government has launched a USDA Branded Food Products Database, which is free online database containing information about 80,000 branded foods and packaged foods.

The database has been launched through an open data partnership between five organizations including the Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), the International Life Sciences Institute North America (ILSI North America), Label Insight and GS1 US, 1WorldSync.

The private public partnership has launched the database to strengthen public health while bringing in transparency in food composition data.

It will also provides information about nutrient composition and ingredient information on branded foods as well as information about store brands which is given voluntarily by the food industry.

US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said: "There is so much data from the public and private sectors that can improve the health and quality of life for millions of people, if it can be made more readily available."

1WorldSync Americas managing director Ruben Castano said: "This partnership comes at a crucial time for food manufacturers, as consumers are demanding more transparency of product information than ever before.

"By bringing together both public and private market leaders to create this new Database, consumers will be empowered with an unprecedented level of information about food nutritional content."

The new branded food products database is expected to expand and improve the current USDA National Nutrient Database.

As per the partners, this new database will see an increase in timely data submissions from manufacturers and retailers. This data received from them will in turn be structured to manage a bigger volume of food product details.

The database includes information about 80,000 products with the number expected to grow exponentially in the next few months.

USDA Branded Food Products Database has a functionality which links food intake and nutrient composition to dietary pattern recommendations in real time.

Food manufactures can also develop new product formulations through the database while supporting the cause of providing information transparency in the food industry.

The information featuring in the USDA Branded Food Products Database are product name and generic description, serving size and servings per package, weights and measure, nutritional details along with a detailed list of the used ingredients.

There will also be a date stamp linked with current formulation of the food product.