Food data to keep New Zealand healthy

13 May 2014

Health and nutrition professionals, policymakers and people with an interest in food can now access updated nutritional analyses of foods common to the New Zealand diet.

The latest edition of the New Zealand Food Composition Database (NZFCD) publication– holds information on 2,600 foods, including new or updated data for 81 foods that have become increasingly common in the New Zealand diet such as gluten-free breads, soy and chilli sauces, new breakfast cereals and breakfast drinks, and various vegetables.

The NZFCD is routinely used by food manufacturers to calculate the nutritional value of their products as well as by health professionals to assess nutrient intake and plan diets. The Ministry of Health also uses the NZFCD in national nutrition surveys and when developing nutrition policies and guidelines.

The NZFCD is updated on an annual basis and the latest version includes information on approximately 2,600 foods, including 84 core food components, such as moisture, energy, dietary fibre, carbohydrates, protein fat, vitamins, minerals, cholesterol and caffeine, and up to 276 other food components such as amino acids and fatty acids. The information is accessible as FOODfiles – which includes all data; the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) database – which summarises seven core nutrients routinely used on food packaging for all 2,600 foods and ingredients; and the Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables – a downloadable pdf and Microsoft Excel files summarising 36 key components for more than 1000 foods.

“Having a national food composition database is important as food grown or manufactured in New Zealand may have different nutritional values to similar foods produced overseas,” says Suba Sivakumaran, the lead scientist for the Database. “Having access to country-specific data allows health professionals and policymakers to monitor diets, on an individual or national level, and develop guidelines to ensure the health of every New Zealander.”

New items are added to the NZFCD as they become common in the New Zealand diet. Companies may also work with Plant & Food Research to add new items, for example if formulations or agricultural practices change or as new products are developed. Each value is verified by an independent laboratory.

The New Zealand Food Composition Database is primarily funded by the Ministry of Health with additional support from the food and beverage industry. The information is accessible - as the New Zealand FOODfiles 2013; The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition 2013; and the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) database - through the website www.foodcomposition.co.nz.

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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