The USDA has launched the Branded Food Product Database, an informational hub for consumers, the food industry and researchers alike that contains the nutrition details on more than 80,000 name brand prepared and packaged foods.
“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,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The partnership that produced the database is more proof that governments, nonprofits, businesses and researchers are capable fostering scientific innovation by making life-changing data open and available to parents, healthcare professionals, scientists, businesses and everyone interested. I look forward to being surprised by innovations we have not even thought of yet as a result of so much information becoming so reliable and accessible.”
The new database provides a transparent source of information that can assist health professionals identifying foods and portion size for people with food allergies, diabetes, kidney disease and other conditions. Common consumer health and nutrition apps may also use the data as a resource to bring information to consumers on a phone or watch in real time while shopping or dining out.
The Branded Food Products Database greatly expands and enhances, the USDA National Nutrient Database, which contained basic information on about 8,800 branded foods and has served as a main source of food composition data for government, researchers and the food industry. As information is added in the coming months, it is expected the new database will include up to 500,000 products with an expanded level of detail including serving size, servings per package and nutrients shown on the Nutrition Facts Panel or the Expanded Nutrition Facts Panel, plus weights and measures, ingredient list and sub-list, and a date stamp associated with current formulation of the product.
At the open data summit, Vilsack also announced the release of an update to the Global Agricultural Concept Scheme (GACS), a unifying thesaurus of over 350,000 terms in 28 languages that establishes common terminology for data users across the agriculture and nutrition fields worldwide.