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  1. Total Diet Study

Analytical Results of the Total Diet Study

Please note: The FDA will be updating this page with new information about our efforts to modernize the Total Diet Study, in the near future. The modernization efforts include data management, methods, data quality standards, and study design improvements. In October 2017, a pilot program was initiated to test a more robust, population-based sample collection procedure. These improvements will help the FDA to continue our decades long effort to study and better understand Americans’ dietary exposure to toxic and nutritional elements, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and radionuclides.

CFSAN / Office of Analytics and Outreach

All TDS foods are analyzed for elements, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and radionuclides. Certain foods are analyzed for mercury. Refer to the food/analyte matrix on the Foods and Analytes page of this website to determine which TDS foods are analyzed for each analyte group.

TDS foods analyzed for elements, pesticides, and industrial chemicals include results for each of the four market basket (MB) collections that occur each year; radionuclides typically are measured in only one MB each year. Therefore, results for elements, pesticides, and industrial chemicals have four sets of results per analyte, per year; whereas radionuclides typically have one set of results per analyte, per year.

As noted in the introduction, results of the TDS, from 1991 to the present, are available in electronic form on this website, and results prior to 1991 may be found in the publications listed on the publications page of this website. TDS results are presented in two formats:

  • Summaries of multi-year results
  • Individual results for each year

Summaries of Multi-Year Results

Toxic and Nutritional Elements 

Pesticide Residues and Industrial Chemicals

Radionuclides

Individual Year Analytical Results

TDS individual-year results from 2003 to the present are in the table below and include separate files for elements, radionuclides, and pesticides and industrial chemicals. For results of individual years from 1991 through 2002, visit the TDS Analytical Results Archive page on this website. Data prior to 1991 are not available in electronic format, but have been published in numerous reports in the scientific literature; see the Publications page on this website.

How to access and understand the files below: Each file is a compressed, tab-delimited text file that can be downloaded, decompressed, and imported into a database or spreadsheet. The data in the files are presented in columns. To understand what each column represents, readers must first access the Individual Year Analytical Results Column Key (PDF, 105 KB).

Notes:

  1. In 2014, we updated the methods of measuring elements in food. Compared with previous methods, the newer methods can detect and differentiate the elements at lower levels. If you are comparing TDS elements data in foods over time, be aware that an apparent increase in positive findings starting in 2014 might be due to the improved ability to detect them. Please see the Analytical Methods page for more information.
  2. Some individual pesticide results use number codes to represent the extraction and determination methods used. The codes appear as three- and two-digit numbers, respectively.  See Pesticide Extraction and Determination Codes (PDF, 491KB) for a key showing which method each of these number codes represents.
  3. In the table below, the years listed for radionuclide results (2005, 2004, and 2003) are followed by an additional number (either 1, 2, 3, or 4). The additional number indicates which of the four market baskets collected for that year included radionuclide measurements; for example, 2005-2 means that the food samples tested for radionuclides in 2005 came from the second market basket collected that year.
  4. Because of a data quality concern, the 2014, 2015, and 2016 analytical results for nickel are not reported in the individual year analytical results text files of TDS element analyses. In 2017 our laboratory studies and data analysis revealed that the equipment we used to grind foods to prepare samples could have leached small amounts of nickel into the samples. We subsequently have taken corrective actions including using different equipment and changing the sample-preparation procedures and we are continuing to monitor to ensure the effectiveness of these changes.
  5. In anticipation of a major change to how TDS samples foods, the last market basket of 2017 (2017-04) represents a test run of the new sampling procedure. This new sampling procedure categorizes TDS foods as either regional or national. The test used the TDS Regional Food List which is comprised of foods that typically vary based on where they are purchased e.g. milk, bread, meat, produce. This regional list also includes some new foods like tilapia, walnuts, blueberries, mozzarella cheese, and many more. The data presented consists of results for 86 regional foods. Market baskets 2017-01 through 2017-03 present data for 266 foods collected using the old sampling procedure.
Elements Radionuclides Pesticides and
Industrial Chemicals

Individual Year Analytical Results (ZIP: 1.83MB)

Individual Year Analytical Results (ZIP: 116KB)

Individual Year Analytical Results (ZIP: 619KB)

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

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