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Frequently asked questions (AFCD)

Here you will find information about the history of our food composition reference database, what you can expect to find in the database and what to do if you find an error or would like to contact the Food Composition team.

What databases have been published in the past?

Over the past thirty years, there have been seven reference databases published, six under the old name NUTTAB, and two​ under the new name of Australian Food Composition Database:

NUTTAB

Australian Food Composition Database

  • ​​​1989 and 1990 by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health
  • 1991 by the National Food Authority
  • 1995 by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority
  • 2006 and 2010 by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
  • 2019 by Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  • 2022​​​ by Food Standards Australia New Zealand

​Early databases were published as hard copy books and on computer floppy disks, which then progressed to online electronic files. NUTTAB 2006 was the first of our food composition publications to be published in an online searchable format.

The Australian Food Composition Database – Release 1 was published in 2019, which is the first database since 1991 not to use the NUTTAB name.

Are publications of the Australian Food Composition Database intended to replace the NUTTAB publications?

Yes, publications of the Australian Food Composition Database are​ intended to replace NUTTAB 2010, NUTTAB 2006, NUTTAB 1995, its 1997 Supplement, Nutritional Values of Australian Foods (1992), as well as Food for Health (1991).

The Australian Food Composition Database is not intended to replace any of the AUSNUT databases which are developed to support National Nutrition Surveys.

Will FSANZ continue to publish updated versions of the Australian Food Composition Database?

Yes, we will publish updated versions as we continue gathering and preparing nutrient information from analytical programs commissioned by FSANZ, provided by food organisations or derived from other sources. While, it is not possible to guarantee the timing of these future updates, all updates will be announced on the​ ​Australian Food Composition Database webpage.​

​Updated versions of the Australian Food composition Database can be identified by their Release number. For example, any updates to the Australian Food Composition Database – Release 1 would be published under the title ‘Australian Food Composition Database - Release 2’ and so on.​​

Is the data published in the Australian Food Composition Database up to date?

The data published in the Australian Food Composition Database is mainly analytical data collected from the 1980s onwards. New analytical data has been generated over the past few years and included in the database. When analysing foods and compiling our data, we give consideration to foods where the composition may have changed since the previous release, or where a food is new to the market. We also review our existing data for suitability to be continued in the Australian Food Composition Database. Consideration is given to the age and quality of the data, and the availability of the food in the current market.

Does the Australian Food Composition Database include products recently released on the market?

Where possible, nutrient data for products that have recently come onto the market has been included. However, where no quality nutrient data for new products is available, they are not included in the database. Due to the range of foods and the frequent release of new products, it is not possible to include data for every food that is available in Australia.

I was comparing the nutrient data of a specific branded product I have to a similar product in the Australian Food Composition Database. Although the food descriptions are the same, why don t the nutrient data match?

Nutrient values reported under a specific food name in the Australian Food Composition Database are not necessarily derived from the analysis of a single product. In some cases, composite samples have been analysed, which means that a number of very similar products that are not necessarily the same brand have been blended together to form a single sample, and then a portion of this sample has been analysed. Nutrient levels in foods can also vary substantially over time and between brands and varieties due to factors such as season, origin, formulation changes and natural variation. If you have any questions about the nutrients in a specific product you should check with the manufacturer.

Does the data from the Australian Food Composition Database feed into the Nutrition Panel Calculator (NPC)?

At present, the NPC uses data based on our previous releases of NUTTAB and AUSNUT. We are aiming to update the nutrient database that feeds into the NPC in the near future and will include some of the data published in the Australian Food Composition Database. However please be aware that the values for energy in the Australian Food Composition Database are not exactly as required for nutrition labelling purposes, primarily due to the different energy factors applied to sugars versus starch and other available carbohydrates. Therefore, if you need nutrient data to label your food, you should continue to use the data provided with the NPC.

I think there might be a mistake in some of the data you have presented. How does this happen?

While the food composition team makes considerable effort to ensure the quality of data in the Australian Food Composition Database, we make no warranty that the information contained in the Australian Food Composition Database will be free from error, or if used will ensure compliance with the relevant requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Before relying on the information presented in the Australian Food Composition Database, you should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of this information for your purposes, and should consider the need to obtain appropriate expert advice relevant to your particular circumstances.

There are limitations associated with food composition databases. Nutrient data published in the Australian Food Composition Database may represent an average of the nutrient content of a particular sample of foods and ingredients, determined at a particular time. The nutrient composition of foods and ingredients can vary substantially between batches and brands because of a number of factors, including changes in season, changes in formulation, processing practices and ingredient source.

How should the Australian Food Composition Database be referenced?

A suggested long reference is:

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2022​​). Australian Food Composition Database – Release 2​​. Canberra: FSANZ. Available at www.foodstandards.gov.au

A suggested short reference, depending on the purpose is:

© Food Standards Australia New Zealand or

AFCD-2

Who should I contact?

All food composition queries should be emailed to us using our contact form

Page last updated 19 December 2023