What is INFOODS?
INFOODS is the International Network of Food Data Systems. It was established in 1984. It is a worldwide network of food composition experts aiming to improve the quality, availability, reliability and use of food composition data. INFOODS also stands as a forum through which international harmonization and support for food composition activities can be achieved and advocated. INFOODS is organized into several regional data centers with a global coordinator. In this context, INFOODS and FAO provide guidelines, standards, compilation tools, databases, capacity development tools, policy advice, advocacy tools, technical assistance at country level; and they represent a fora to link agriculture, biodiversity, food systems, health and nutrition to achieve better nutrition worldwide.
What is the mission of INFOODS?
Promotion of international participation and cooperation in the acquisition and dissemination of adequate and reliable data on the composition of foods, beverages and their ingredients, in forms appropriate to meet the needs of the various users (government agencies, nutrition scientists and educators, health and agriculture professionals, policy makers and planners, food producers/processors/retailers and consumers).
What are the objectives of INFOODS?
- development of international criteria for judging the quality of data on food composition;
- identification of existing sources of useful data on food composition;
- promotion of the generation, acquisition, and dissemination of new data on the composition of foods, beverages and their ingredients that meet the criteria developed; and
- facilitating, on a world-wide basis, the access, retrieval, interchange, and general harmonization of food composition data.
What are INFOODS activities?
- provide international guidelines and standards (e.g. on food and component nomenclature; data interchange; compilation; data checks; conversions; sampling; data quality);
- provide a food composition database management system (i.e. the FAO/INFOODS Compilation Tool);
- publish key documents (e.g. Greenfield, H., & Southgate, D.A.T. (2003). Food Composition Data: Production, Management and Use. FAO, Rome);
- provide a pool of experts in the generation and compilation of food composition data;
- assist countries to compile and publish a food composition database and tables according to international standards;
- provide professionals with the means to generate, compile and use food composition data according to international guidelines and standards;
- share food composition data (e.g. repository of food composition tables and databases on INFOODS website; publication of food composition tables and databases, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis which was until 2010 the official INFOODS journal);
- increase the knowledge of professionals regarding food composition and biodiversity (e.g. via classroom training courses; incorporation of food composition into formal education curricula of schools and universities in nutrition, food science, dietetics etc; and distance-learning tool the Food Composition Study Guide);
- provide information and data on food biodiversity (i.e. food composition and consumption data below species level and of wild and underutilized foods to allow their incorporation into food composition tables and databases and into nutrition);
- provide information and data for nutrition labeling;
- provide a forum for exchange of information (e.g. INFOODS listserv/mailing list, INFOODS website, International Food Data Conference; twitter, facebook etc);
- strengthen collaboration with other national and international bodies, organizations and projects working on food composition issues;
- raise awareness for the importance of high-quality food composition data for all applications (e.g. through conferences and scientific articles);
- provide a forum to link nutrition and agriculture through food composition;
- and much more...
Who is part of INFOODS?
Government organizations, research institutes, universities, international organizations, foundations, and professionals working on food composition issues.
Who does INFOODS reach?
- Food composition compilers
- Food composition data generators (e.g. chemists)
- Food composition data users: including nutritionists, food scientists, analytical chemists, nutrition education experts, nutritional epidemiologists, health professionals, exposure assessors, professionals in agriculture (e.g. breeding), economists, biologists, ecologists, computer and information scientists, students, and at times, consumers.
- Decision makers for resource allocation at national and international level