Updated food composition reference book published

16th September 2014

‘McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods’ contains nutritional information on almost 1200 items, providing the most recent data on the foods currently eaten in the UK diet.

“This is a major update and release of one of the most used and cited reference works, which dates back to the 1st edition published in 1940. The book is used widely by researchers, dietitians and students in both the UK and internationally,” said Paul Finglas, Head of the Food Databanks National Capability (FDNC) that coordinated the data compilation.

With funding from Public Health England, the 7th edition has been produced by FDNC in collaboration with British Nutrition Foundation, the Royal Society of Chemistry and two analytical laboratories (Eurofins and LGC).

Compilation and validation of current food composition data is a key output of the Food Databanks National Capability at the Institute of Food Research, which is strategically supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

MW7_frontcoverProfessor Judith Buttriss, Director General of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods has been a key resource in nutrition science for many decades and these data on the composition of the food we eat are vital to determine our nutrient intakes as a nation, for research into the links between diet and health, for dietitians to assess and manage their patients and for the food industry in product development and food labelling. It’s so important that food composition data is accurate and up to date and this new edition and the updated online dataset is a great step forward.”

The data underpins research that informs dietary policy, such as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which monitors UK intake of calories, salt, saturated fat and other nutrients. Dieticians rely on it for meal planning and assessing patients’ nutrient intakes, and it is also widely used by the food industry in developing or reformulating products, especially in response to regulatory changes or voluntary efforts designed to make foods healthier.

Changes in food production, as well as changes in our diet, mean that the data needs to be refreshed regularly, as seen in the new edition. For example, eggs were reassessed and found to contain more vitamin D and selenium, but less saturated fat than 25 years ago, probably due to changes in chicken feed and production techniques. Bread also contains about a third less salt, and the levels of trans fats in processed foods have also reduced to a very low level.

McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods 7th Edition was launched at an event at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Tuesday 16th September and is available to buy from the RSC and other booksellers.

Please contact Booksales@rsc.org or telephone 01223 432496 regarding purchase of the book or see http://www.rsc.org/shop/books/2014/9781849736367.asp for details.

Reference:  McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Seventh Summary Edition,  ISBN: 978-1-84973-636-7
Finglas P.M., Roe M.A., Pinchen H.M., Berry R., Church S.M., Dodhia S.K., Farron-Wilson  M. & Swan G. (2014) Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.

The 7th Summary edition was produced by a consortium of the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), LGC and Eurofins, with support from Public Health England

Related People

Related Targets

Targeting food composition

Food Composition

Related Research Groups

fruit and vegetables

Paul Finglas

Related Research Areas