Connecting people and institutions
to strengthen analysis and decision making

Food Composition Data

The FAO/INFOODS e-Learning Course on Food Composition Data will contribute to close the knowledge gap on food composition of nutritionists and all those generating, compiling or using food composition data. The course aims at making learners aware of all important issues; nevertheless the course cannot provide the necessary experience to become a full-fledged food composition expert. This will only come with experience and when actually working with food composition data. However, if most nutritionists and professionals working with food composition data acquired the knowledge of this course, it would make a great difference in data quality, availability and use.


The course is designed to be primarily used in universities, as it is important that future generations of nutritionists, food scientists, dieticians, chemists analysing food components, food composition data compilers, health professionals and agronomists appreciate food composition data and use them adequately in their respective fields to improve data quality, availability and usage worldwide. The course can also be used by self-learners interested in food composition, or in conjunction with food composition courses, or within institutes for capacity development in food composition.


The total curriculum consists of 14 lessons, ranging from approximately 25 to 65 minutes duration, grouped into 5 units:

Unit 1 Basic Principles of Food Composition Data

  • Lesson 1.1 Introduction
  • Lesson 1.2 Food Composition Tables and Databases

Unit 2 Food Description

  • Lesson 2.1 Food Selection and Nomenclature

Unit 3 Food Components

  • Lesson 3.1 Component Definition and Selection
  • Lesson 3.2 Calculation and Conversion of Components and Units
  • Lesson 3.3 Food Component Analysis
  • Lesson 3.4 INFOODS Tagnames and their Application

Unit 4 Quality Consideration

  • Lesson 4.1 Quality Data
  • Lesson 4.2 Food Biodiversity

Unit 5 Compilation

  • Lesson 5.1 Compilation Principles
  • Lesson 5.2 Recipe Calculation
  • Lesson 5.3 Compilation Exercise: Archival Database
  • Lesson 5.4 Compilation Exercise: Reference Database
  • Lesson 5.5 Compilation Exercise: User Database