An updated version of the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) flagship nutrient database has been launched by ARS, the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The database is the major authoritative source of information about food composition in the United States.
This year, more than 200 new entries have been added to the "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22," or SR22 for short, which now includes a total of more than 7,500 food items. It replaces Release SR21, issued in September 2008. The database is managed by the ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC).
Each food item is shown with an information profile that provides data for up to 140 food components, such as vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Information is derived from a variety of rigorously evaluated sources, including USDA-sponsored laboratory analyses, food industry data and available scientific literature.
Among the 2009 updates, as many as 3,000 values for Vitamin D have been included for the first time. Vitamin D values were added for 20 species of fish and also for types of foods that may be fortified with vitamin D during manufacturing or processing, such as milk, orange juice, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, yogurt and some margarines. When available, values for two forms of vitamin D, vitamins D2 and D3, also were added.
SR22 also includes a new food group, "Restaurant Foods." At this time, the restaurant foods group contains profiles for 38 food items obtained from family-style restaurants, Latino restaurants and Chinese restaurants.
The ARS-BHNRC Nutrient Data Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., headed by nutritionist Joanne Holden, provides free electronic access to SR22 online from its web site, which includes a search feature. SR22 is also available in a variety of formats which can be downloaded free of charge for use on personal computers.
This research supports the USDA priority of improving nutrition and health.