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  1. Reference Databases and Monitoring Programs (Food)

FDA Total Diet Study (TDS)

The FDA Total Diet Study (TDS) monitors levels of nutrients (for example, calcium and iron) and contaminants (for example, arsenic and lead) in foods eaten by people in the U.S. Using these data, we estimate how much of the nutrients and contaminants the entire U.S. population and subpopulations eat each day, on average. The TDS complements FDA’s other food safety and nutrition programs.

Since the TDS began in 1961, as a program to monitor for radioactive contamination of foods, the TDS has expanded to monitor levels of nutrient elements, toxic elements, pesticide residues, and other chemicals in foods. We buy the foods from the same retail outlets that people buy food from, and we prepare the foods as people typically would, to provide realistic estimates of what is in the foods we eat. The ongoing nature of the study enables us to track trends in the average U.S. consumer diet and inform the development of interventions to reduce or minimize risks, when needed.

To learn more about the FDA’s Total Diet Study, please visit:

If you have questions about the FDA Total Diet Study, email TDS@fda.hhs.gov.

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