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Dietary Reference Intakes: Guiding Principles for Nutrition Labeling and Fortification
and nutrient excess in the population. The USDA food composition database is not designed to facilitate the tracking of discretionarily fortified food products in intake surveys. The committee understands that USDA is currently working to address this issue and encourages continuation of that effort. Such research is needed to form a sound scientific basis for future nutrition labeling and discretionary fortification policies. This research would require cooperation between industry and government agencies such as was done on a smaller scale by Berner and colleagues (2001). Only those fortified products consumed by a significant percentage of the population should be considered for this research and related database expansions unless a particular product is consumed almost exclusively by a specific ethnic or economic population subgroup. In this way the sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics of the population subgroups whose usual intakes are most likely to be affected by discretionary fortification may be determined. Research is also required to determine the optimal levels for discretionary fortification and the selection criteria for food vehicles that are likely to have the greatest impact on the lower or upper ends of the intake distribution.
FOOD COMPOSITION AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENT DATABASES
Specific data are necessary for a complete and accurate assessment of nutrient adequacy and excess. In particular there is a vital need to maintain current and representative databases for food and supplements that can be used to effectively assess nutrient intakes. Complete databases that reflect current fortification practices are critical to accurately assess the nutrient content of the food supply, population food intakes, and the effects of dietary intake on health outcomes. To do this, the databases must be up-to-date to ensure there are no missing values and that the nutrient data within the databases are current. As mentioned in Chapter 6, the prevalence of nutrient inadequacy could be grossly overestimated if there are high levels of underreporting in the dietary intake data or if the food composition databases include incomplete or erroneous data on the levels of a particular nutrient in food. With the new DRIs the quantifying units of measure also may need to be updated in the databases. In those instances where computerized nutrient databases serve as data sources for nutrition labeling, care should be taken to ensure that those databases are the same ones used with dietary surveys of the United States and Canadian populations. This