USDA Announces New Open Data Partnership for Public Health
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USDA Announces New Open Data Partnership for Public Health

the branded foods database has the nutrition details on over 80,000 brand name foods

September 16, 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has officially launched the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Branded Food Products Database, a free online resource for families, the food industry, and researchers containing nutrition details on more than 80,000 name brand prepared and packaged foods available at restaurants and grocery stores.

"There is so much data from the public and private sectors that can improve the health and quality of life for millions of people, if it can be made more readily available," said Vilsack. "The partnership that produced the database is more proof that governments, nonprofits, businesses, and researchers are capable fostering scientific innovation by making life-changing data open and available to parents, healthcare professionals, scientists, businesses, and everyone interested. I look forward to being surprised by innovations we have not even thought of yet as a result of so much information becoming so reliable and accessible."

The USDA Agricultural Research Service partnered with the International Life Sciences Institute North America (ILSI North America), GS1 US, 1WorldSync, and Label Insight to develop the new database and user-friendly interface to make it easier for private food companies to add and update data.

The database provides a transparent source of information that can assist health professionals identifying foods and portion size for people with food allergies, diabetes, kidney disease, and other conditions. Common consumer health and nutrition Apps may also use the data as a resource to bring information to consumers on a phone or watch in real time while shopping or dining out.

The Branded Food Products Database greatly expands and enhances the USDA National Nutrient Database, which contained basic information on about 8,800 branded foods and has served as a main source of food composition data for government, researchers, and the food industry.

As information is added in the coming months, it is expected the new database will include up to 500,000 products with an expanded level of detail including serving size, servings per package, and nutrients shown on the Nutrition Facts Panel or the Expanded Nutrition Facts Panel, plus weights and measures, ingredient list and sub-list, and a date stamp associated with current formulation of the product.