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USDA National Nutrients database

Category: Website

The USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] National Nutrient database is an online searchable database of over 8000 food items available in the USA.

It can be searched by foodstuff and nutrient. Thus one can find which nutrients are in a particular food item eg what does a tomato contain and it is also possible to find which foods contain a particular nutrient, for example, which foodstuffs contain calcium. The nutrient lists of food can be displayed in alphabetic order or in order of the amount of nutrient available.

Despite the usefulness of the site, it does have its drawbacks.

 

The database contains a vast number of manufactured foods which contain multiple basic foods and also fortified foods, making any search of the simple basic foodstuffs very long and tedious. It also contains a vast range of manufactured items unavailable outside the US and thus of little interest to the rest of the world.

Given the USDA's remit to support agriculture and the food supply sector both in the USA and outside, this emphasis on home producers of manufactured items such as 'kellogs crunchy sweetie multi wheat and nut and cracker super cereal' [invented product] makes any search difficult.

A search for the items containing calcium, for example, results in a list of 7,885 items! Go through this list and you will find well over half contain trace amounts, a good quarter are manufactured items and some in the list appear to contain no calcium, but are still listed!

Type in milk and over 200 foodstuffs are listed!

 

So this may be a handy tool for the nutritionist or the home economics teacher, but it is useless for any average person simply wanting to know which basic foods contain a nutrient they are short of.

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.