FDA Posts Updated Results for its Total Diet Study

CFSAN Constituent Update

July 11, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the availability of updated data for its Total Diet Study (TDS), an ongoing program that measures levels of certain chemical contaminants and nutrients in foods. The newly available data provide findings from foods collected from 2006 to 2011.

The FDA uses the data to analyze for trends to better understand if changes over time are significant. For example, the agency found statistically significant declines in sodium contents of several processed foods.

The TDS program, also known as the FDA’s “market-basket survey,” samples a broad variety of commodities commonly eaten or drunk in the United States. It includes approximately 280 foods and beverages in all. The TDS is distinctive among monitoring programs in that it analyzes the presence of the chemical contaminants and nutrients in foods as they would be eaten (“table ready”), as opposed to in raw foods. This approach helps the agency to more accurately estimate exposure through food and beverages. In conducting its TDS research, the FDA collects food samples in cities throughout the country, buying foods from grocery stores and restaurants.

The FDA makes the TDS data available so that others in the scientific community can access and examine them. The newly posted updates report the levels of four toxic elements (arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury) and 12 nutritional elements (calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc) in food. The updates include a report and individual analytical results.

The TDS was established in 1961 as a program to monitor for radioactive contamination of foods. Since its inception, the program has expanded to encompass pesticide residues, industrial chemicals, and toxic and nutrient elements. These ongoing analyses enable the FDA to monitor trends and potential risks to the public health.

The FDA recommends that consumers eat a varied, well-balanced diet, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

For more information on the TDS program, and to see the newly posted report and individual analytical results, visit the TDS main page on FDA.Gov.

Page Last Updated: 07/11/2014
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