About 20 years ago, there was a recognition in Europe that real benefits would flow from coordinating the manner in which food composition tables were produced in the various countries of Europe. Subsequent development of computerized nutritional databases has further highlighted the potential advantages of working together. Such cooperation could lead to improved quality and compatibility of the various European nutrient databases and the values within them. This realization was one of the driving forces behind the development of the EUROFOODS initiative in the 1980s when those people in Europe interested in data on food composition began working together. This initiative received further impetus with the establishment of the EUROFOODS-Enfant Concerted Action Project within the framework of the FLAIR (Food-Linked Agro-Industrial Research) Programme of the Commission of the European Communities.
It was quickly recognized that the draft guidelines for the production, management and use of food composition data, which had been prepared under the aegis of INFOODS (International Network of Food Data Systems, a project of the United Nations University), would be especially applicable to the objectives of the Concerted Action. The guidelines have been written by two recognized experts. Many people associated with FLAIR EUROFOODS-Enfant have added constructive criticism and advice to that offered previously by those associated with INFOODS. Thus the guidelines are backed by a consensus in the community of those responsible for the production and use of food composition tables and nutrient databases.
I am sure that the book will be regarded by those concerned with the production and use of nutritional compositional data as a lighthouse on an ocean with poor visibility, many hazards and shipwrecks. It will provide invaluable light not only for people in Europe but also for those on other continents across the oceans.
Clive E. West
FLAIR EUROFOODS-Enfant Project
Wageningen, February 1992