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Content archived on 2024-04-16

MAJOR NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD

Objective


The main nutritional properties of a food are defined by its major organic components: total protein, total fat, carbohydrate (starch and sugars) and dietary fibre. Knowledge of the contents of major elements is also important. Accurate determination of these components has become more important because of the greater demand for reliable food labelling and the intracommunity trade in food products, but collaborative studies have shown that even the most experienced laboratories can make significant errors.

A preliminary intercomparison of methods identified many of the methodological weaknesses. Five reference materials (full cream milk powder, wholemeal flour, rye flour, haricot beans and lyophilized pork muscle) have been prepared and shown to be homogeneous and stable and have been certified with respect to total nitrogen protein, ash, total fat, dietary fibre, lactose and calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and phosphorus. Indicative values for starch, free sugars and dietary fibre by the Englyst method were also established. Indicative values for several important vitamins were determined.
The main nutritional properties of a food are defined by its major organic components; total protein, total fat, carbohydrate (starch and sugars) and dietary fibre. Knowledge of the contents of major elements such as Ca, K, P and Na is also important.
Accurate determination of these components has become more important because of the greater demand for reliable food labelling (Directives 79/112/EEC and 90/496/EEC) and, the implications for intra-community trade in food products.
Although routinely determined in industry and for nutritional purposes, collaborative studies have shown that even the most experienced laboratories can make significant errors.

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Coordinator

RIKILT
EU contribution
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Address

6700 AE WAGENINGEN
Netherlands

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Participants (26)