Q. How do I know if the complete vitamin and mineral data has been included in an ingredient nutrient analysis?
A. The ESHA database lists the nutritional data provided by our sources, and different sources provide different amounts and types of data. Manufacturers’ items tend to report label nutrient data.
Some items, such as those marketed to the general public, may list only mandatory nutrients. Enriched and fortified foods may list voluntary nutrients with which they have been fortified (e.g. cereals, milk, infant formulas).
The USDA database tends to list whole foods with unrounded data and a larger set of nutrients. Brand name foods in the USDA database may or may not be rounded label data.
When working with whole food ingredients in recipes, you can specify USDA in your ingredients searches by typing “USDA” along with the food name in the search box.
Reviewing the Spreadsheet report while creating an analysis will help identify where nutrients are missing values (designated by a dash). If there are missing values in mandatory nutrients, look for other database foods that could be used as substitutions – the goal being that your nutrient totals accurately reflect the nutrient content of the food.