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Nutritional information at the press of a button

12 November 2002

Nutritional information at the press of a button

Chocolate bar or health bar? Sometimes it’s a difficult choice. Now thanks to an online food composition database, the choice might just have got easier.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority, in partnership with Crop & Food Research, has developed a free database listing the nutrient values of more than 2470 foods.

Manufacturers are required to include Nutrition Information Panels on most packaged foods from December 20, when the Joint Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code comes into full effect. The database will assist manufacturers to do that.

The amounts of each of seven key food components are listed for each product on the database. Those seven components are energy (kilojoules), protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, total sugars and sodium. The energy values include the energy gained from dietary fibre and are different from other existing food composition databases.

NZFSA Director of Policy and Regulatory Standards (Labelling and Composition) Carole Inkster says the new service will be an invaluable tool for manufacturers.

“The information is very easy to access and can be used as it is or in conjunction with the manufacturers’ systems to calculate the Nutrition Information Panel for each product.”

“Manufacturers, we know, are getting ready for the introduction of the joint Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code on December 20. This is another tool to assist them in complying with the law,” Ms Inkster said.

“While this database is targeted at manufacturers, consumers will benefit from the Nutrition Information Panels. They will be able to see at a glance exactly what’s in the food they are eating,” Ms Inkster said.

The database is available on Crop & Food Research’s website


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