FDNC Newsletter: Issue 5 - Autumn 2015
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Welcome to the Food Databanks National Capability (FDNC) Newsletter, keeping you up-to-date with news from our group based at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, UK.
FDNC researchers have been producing and managing data for the UK food composition dataset since 1978. We lead the multi-disciplinary consortium, funded by Public Health England, to maintain and update the UK food composition dataset. This data is available in book format (The Composition of Foods 7th edition, McCance and Widdowson’s (eds.) 2014) and also as an online integrated dataset (McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (CoFID) . The CoFID lists analytical nutrient data for 3,291 foods and is available as two parts:
  1. New and recently reviewed data (McCance and Widdowson’s composition of foods integrated dataset 2015)
  2. Data from the 2008 CoFID that have not been reviewed or validated (McCance and Widdowson’s composition of foods: old foods)
Nutritional Information for processed food labels
FDNC provide a service to calculate the nutritional content of food products for the UK food industry 
Small to Medium-sized Enterprises,  SMEs), Trading Standards Organisations and others in order to satisfy the needs of food producers who need reliable and accurate nutritional information for labelling their products as required by new EU regulations. Using our independence, reputation and expertise in the production of the UK Composition of Foods (McCance and Widdowson, 2014) datasets and our nutrition knowledge, we can be your experts producing nutritional information via calculation as a cost effective and quicker alternative to laboratory analysis. If you are interested in our service and would like more information and costs contact: Nutritional Information Solutions (
The eBASIS (Bioactive Substances in Food Information Systems) is a unique internet deployed food composition and biological effects database for plant-based bioactive compounds with putative health benefits. Over 300 major European plant foods are included covering many compound classes  such as polyphenols, phytosterols and glucosinolates.

The database is being extended using peer-reviewed publications and new analysis, via an EU FP7 project, BACCHUS.  As part of the project the database will be linked to national food consumption surveys enabling calculations on SM food and bioactive compound intakes.
Outreach, meetings and events
FDNC team members have been present at numerous national and international meetings during the past few months, visit our website for further information, here are a few highlights:
The Trading Standards Conference, June 2015
Jenny, Hannah and Mark attended the Chartered Trading Standards Institute annual conference in Bournemouth 30 June – 1 July, informing Trading Standards Officers about the new Nutritional Information Service.  Using recipe information we can calculate the nutritional content of food products providing reliable and accurate nutritional as required by new EU regulations.
The Natural Food Show, April 2015
Paul and Jenny, together with Nicola from IFR’s Food and Health Network, manned a stand at The Natural Food Show in Excel, London. They showcased our work covering composition of foods, food labelling, bioactive compounds and health claims. The event was Europe’s biggest trade show for natural, organic, fair trade, free-from, vegan, vegetarian, and eco-living brands, and had 600 exhibitors.
Food Databanks at the Big Bang Fair, March 2015
FDNC staff have been active in producing games and activities for the IFR stand “What’s in our Food?” at The Big Bang Fair, held at Birmingham NEC. The fair is the UK’s biggest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people. We were there, discussing what makes a balanced diet, and the science behind how we know what’s in our food.
News on FDNC projects
FDNC staff participate in a number of national and European projects. Our recent new projects include:
Nutrient Analysis Survey of Fresh and Processed Fruit and Vegetables with respect to fibre
FDNC has been awarded a contract by Public Health England to deliver a nutrient composition survey of commonly consumed fruit and vegetables, with a focus on fibre measured by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) method.  The draft Carbohydrates and Health report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that dietary fibre should be defined based on this method and there is a need to improve the quality of estimates of fibre intakes based on the AOAC method. This survey will provide AOAC fibre values for a range of fruit and vegetables which have not yet been analysed by this method and will also update and extend information on other nutrients which were last analysed in the 1980’s; it will complement the nutrient analysis of fruit and vegetables analytical report (2012) where 59 composite samples were analysed. The project runs between July 2015 and March 2016 and will provide new data for approximately 50 fruit and vegetables, both raw and cooked. The new data generated by this survey will be used to update Public Health England’s NDNS nutrient databank and will be included in updates of the Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset. Analytical services for the project will be provided by our laboratory partners, Eurofins Food Testing and LGC Ltd.
Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain" (REFRESH) is a newly funded EU project taking action against food waste. 26 partners from 12 European countries and China work towards the project's goal to contribute towards the objectives of reducing food waste across Europe by 30% by 2025, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from un-avoidable food waste and packaging materials. FDNC and Prof. Keith Waldron’s team from the IFR Biorefinery Centre are partners in the project and will lead a work package on ‘Valorization of waste streams and co-products’. Key tasks will be to identify waste streams that have significant environmental impact to enable development of the most effective approaches to ensure that waste streams can be significantly reduced through improved chain management and business and consumer behaviour. FDNC’s main role will be to develop a compositional database which provides users with access to biochemical composition of agri-food chain waste streams in order to identify market opportunities. 

New microsite for PLANTLIBRA

FDNC were partners in an EU-funded FP7 project, PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment (PlantLIBRA), which aimed to foster the safe use of food supplements containing plants or botanical preparations. To make informed decisions, competent authorities and food businesses need more quality-assured and accessible information and better tools, one of which is ePlantLIBRA; a comprehensive database containing information on the composition, adverse effects, potential benefits and contaminants of botanicals.

For more information on the project and access to ePlantLIBRA visit

Here are some recent publications that FDNC staff has published in the past few months:
Plumb J., Lyons J., Nørby E., Poms R., Bucchini L., Restani P., Kiely M., Finglas P. M. (2015) “ePlantLIBRA: A composition and biological activity database for bioactive compounds in plant food supplements” [Food Chemistry doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.03.126]

Roe M., Pinchen H., Church S., Finglas P.M. (2015) “McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition and updated Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset” [
British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin, 40, 36–39]
Future Meetings and Events
FDNC staff are already preparing for events in 2015, here are some highlights:

11th International Food Data Conference, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad India, November 2015, Paul Finglas will be attending and giving an oral presentation “QuaLiFY: using scientifically credible data to underpin connected Health”

Paul will then lead a Post 11th IFDC workshop on “EuroFIR – Food Data and Tools: their application in Food and Nutrition Research” in Hyderabad on 6th November 2015

Staffing News from the Food Databanks Team
There has been a lot of exciting changes to the Food Databanks team in the last few months. We’re very happy to share the news that Wendy and Rachel are the proud new mothers of two baby boys and we have welcomed two new starters into the team to replace them while they are on maternity leave: Olivia Shaw is the FDNC administrator and Robert Tickner the project manager for the BACCHUS project.

We recently said good bye to Lena Van-Liedekerke (3rd left) and Katrijn Grisar (2nd right), our Erasmus students from University College vzw Odisee, Ghent and Florence Jimoh (far right) a visiting worker on the QuaLiFY project. Lena and Katrijn worked with us for three months on the eBASIS database and also with the IFR Food and Health Programme on the sulphur content of the diet.
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