Everywhere we look we find food composition data: nutrition facts on food labels; fats, vitamins and minerals highlighted on television commercials; and newspaper and magazine articles about fantastic nutrients in our foods. Although this information is prepared for consumers, there is very serious science behind it. The scientists responsible for the information met at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy for the Third International Food Data Conference, held from 5 to 7 July 1999. Back to Basics was the conference's theme.
Approximately 250 scientists from more than 54 countries attended the conference. Their aims were to discuss basic technical and scientific issues in analysing foods and in preparing the information for multiple purposes and users. Researchers, clinicians, health and agriculture policy-makers, food industry personnel and consumers are among the users of the data.
The conference was organized by FAO in cooperation with the European Cooperation and Research Action on Food Consumption and Composition Data (COST Action 99/EUROFOODS), the United Nations University (UNU), the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and the Italian National Institute of Nutrition, Rome.
FAO will publish a brief report on the conference, and its conclusions and recommendations, in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. More information about food composition can be found on the FAO Internet site: www.fao.org/infoods.
Senior Officer in the Nutrition Planning, Assessment and Evaluation
Service of FAO's Food and Nutrition Division