Improving data quality in food composition databanks: a EuroFIR contribution
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Food composition databanks (FCDBs) should provide nutrient composition data comparable over time at national and international levels. However, the linkage between national database compilers and permanent structures to support the upgrading and monitoring of nutrient values in foods are far from satisfactory. This paper focuses on European efforts to improve the quality of nutrient values entered into FCDBs, emphasizing initiatives under the EU Network of Excellence: European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR – NoE). The general concept of quality assurance is described and results obtained in the project’s first year are presented. A survey among EuroFIR partners aimed at evaluating the current situation in comparability of nutrient values suggests that an integrated approach has two requirements: the implementation of a quality management system (QMS) and a harmonized data-quality assessment system (DQAS) to select values from different sources. The use of reference materials (RMs) is a key criterion in deciding on comparability and reliability of candidate nutrient values. Consequently, results of a survey on food matrix reference materials are presented. These suggest that developments in RMs for nutrient analysis in foods have a great impact on the quality of data to be included in FCDBs.
KeywordsData quality Food composition EuroFIR Reference materials
This work was completed on behalf of the EuroFIR consortium and funded under the EU 6th Framework Food Quality and Safety Programme, and Luso - American Foundation grant n° 143/2006. The authors are grateful to Lianne Alink for her valuable revision of the manuscript.
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