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FoodData Central Help

FoodData Central search results can be viewed on both mobile and desktop devices. At this time, results available for viewing on mobile devices include only nutrients by serving. On desktop devices, users can view detailed data about foods, including nutrient and food component values, as well as underlying metadata, such as sample information and analytical approaches used.

Data Types and Associated Definitions

Foundation
Commercially available foods whose nutrient and food component values are derived primarily by chemical analysis. Foundation Foods data also include extensive underlying metadata, such as the number of samples, sampling location, date of collection, analytical approaches used, and if appropriate, agricultural information such as genotype and production practices.
Survey (FNDDS)
Foods whose consumption is measured by the What We Eat In America dietary survey component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Survey nutrient values are usually calculated from Branded and SR Legacy data.
Branded
Foods whose nutrient values are typically obtained from food label data provided by food brand owners.
SR Legacy
Foods from the April 2018 release of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Nutrient and food component values are derived from chemical analysis and calculation.
Experimental
Foods that have been produced and/or analyzed under experimental research conditions and are not in the commercially available food supply. A process for soliciting, curating, and integrating these experimental research data is being developed.
Sample
A food that is acquired as a representative sample of the food supply. It may be created from a single acquired food, or from a composite of multiple acquired foods.
Market Acquisition
Information about what, where, or when a food or item was purchased, harvested, or produced and made available in the marketplace.
Agricultural Acquisition
Information about what, where, or when a food or item was purchased, harvested, or produced.

Search Operators

You can use symbols in your search to make your search results more precise.

Search for an exact phrase
Quotation marks search for an exact phrase:

"green pepper" will only match green pepper products, not anything with the word "green" or "pepper" in it.

Require words
+ (plus sign) makes a word required:

candy corn matches all foods with “candy” or “corn”.

+candy corn matches only foods that have “candy” and weighs the foods that have “corn” higher than those that don’t.

+candy +corn matches only foods that have both “candy” and “corn”.

Exclude words
- (minus sign) excludes foods having the word:

candy -chocolate matches “candy” that doesn’t have “chocolate”.

Match part of a word
* (asterisk) matches any non-whitespace:

*berry matches all foods with “berry” at the end of their name.

Signify precedence
() (parentheses) denote grouping:

pizza -(pepperoni sausage) matches all pizza with neither pepperoni nor sausage.
Unmatched parentheses will cause error during search.

Match words in a particular data element
: (colon) specifies that the word must be present in a particular data element:

description:skor only matches foods that have “skor” in their description.

additionalDescriptions:candy only matches foods that have “candy” in at least one of their additional descriptions.

commonNames:"hot dog" only matches foods that have the phrase “hot dog” in at least one of their common names.

scientificName:beta only matches foods that have “beta” in their scientific name.

Require All Words
When checked, the search will only return foods that contain all of the words that were entered in the search field.

Tips for Searching by Brand

The “suggestions” that appear when you start typing a brand owner name are based on a “starts with, fuzzy” search. “Starts with” means any words you type must appear at the start of the brand owner name (other than words such as “The”). “Fuzzy” means the search will match brand owners that are spelled slightly differently than the words you enter.

After typing all or part of a brand owner name, there are two ways to search:

Exact phrase
If you select a brand owner from the list of suggestions, foods are only found that have that exact brand owner name.
Contains
If you instead press enter, all foods are found whose brand owner name contains all the words you entered. For example, if you type Cola and press enter, foods manufactured either by “The Coca-Cola Company” or “Coca-Cola” are found.

For more information about FoodData Central, go to the FAQ page.