U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Food
  3. Science & Research (Food)
  4. Total Diet Study
  5. Analytical Results of the Total Diet Study
  1. Total Diet Study

Analytical Results of the Total Diet Study

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 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 page, and results prior to 1991 may be found in the publications listed on the publications page of this website.

TDS results from 1991 – 2017 are in the table below and include separate files for elements, radionuclides, and pesticides and industrial chemicals. The data for each analyte group are separated into two zip files for results from 1991 through 2002 and for results from 2003 through 2017 because the food list was updated in 2003.

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).

Elements Radionuclides Pesticides and
Industrial Chemicals

2003-2017 Analytical Results (ZIP: 1.77MB) 
1991-2002 Analytical Results (ZIP: 1.17MB)

2003-2017 Analytical Results (ZIP: 156KB)
1991-2002 Analytical Results (ZIP: 80.7KB)

2003-2017 Analytical Results (ZIP: 4.83MB)
1991-2002 Analytical Results (ZIP: 418KB)

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. In the table above, 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.
  6. View the results on benzene with caution. An FDA evaluation has determined that the TDS method used in the Kansas City District Office laboratory to measure benzene produces unreliable results for benzene in some foods. Based on this evaluation, FDA scientists recommend that benzene data be viewed with great caution while FDA considers removing these data from the TDS website. There is no evidence of problems with other TDS data. See Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages for more information.

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

Back to Top