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Keywords:

  • ENDB;
  • EuroFIR;
  • Folate;
  • Nutrient database;
  • Standardization

Abstract

Scope: The objective was to perform an inventory and critical evaluation of folate data in selected European and international databases. The ultimate aim was to establish guidelines for compiling standardized folate databases for international nutritional studies.

Methods and results: An ad hoc questionnaire was prepared to critically compare and evaluate folate data completeness, quantification, terminologies, and documentation of 18 European and international databases, and national fortification regulations. Selected countries participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer project and European Food Information Resource Network (EuroFIR). Folate completeness was generally high. “Total folate” was the most common terminology and microbiological assay was the most frequently reported quantification method. There is a lack of comparability within and between databases due to a lack of value documentation, the use of generic or non-appropriate terminologies, folate value conversions, and/or lack of identification of synthetic folic acid.

Conclusion: Full value documentation and the use of EuroFIR component identifiers and/or INFOODS tagnames for total folate (“FOL”) and synthetic folic acid (“FOLAC”), with the additional use of individual folates, will increase comparability between databases. For now, the standardized microbiological assay for total folate and HPLC for synthetic folic acid are the recommended quantification methods.