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A trio from the South African Food Data System (SAFOODS), housed within the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)’s Biostatistics Research Unit (BRU) left a mark on the international food data stage as they hugely contributed to the 13th International Food Data Conference (IFDC). The conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal from 14 - 18 October 2019.
SAFOODS showcased their country-specific food composition research tools via an exhibition stand at the 27th Congress of the Nutrition Society of South Africa (NSSA) and the 15th Congress of the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), the bi-annual National Nutrition Congress, held 5-7 September 2018 in Johannesburg. The congress theme this year was: “Nutrition: Past, Present, Future”. A vibrant congress stand created by colleagues of the SAMRC Corporate and Marketing Communications Unit aimed at marketing both SAFOODS and the SAMRC.
Team SAFOODS, September 2018
Mrs Joelaine Chetty (Food Composition Database Compiler, SAFOODS), Ms Sitilitha Masangwi (Food Composition Database Compiler, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi), Dr Averalda van Graan (SAFOODS Manager) and Mrs Malory Jumat (Food Composition Database Compiler, SAFOODS)
SAFOODS Scientific Contributions
Team SAFOODS contributed 2 oral deliveries and 5 poster presentations at this year’s congress. Additionally, SAFOODS displayed their extended footprint into Africa by distributing pamphlets detailing a collaborative project assisting Malawi in starting up a National Food Composition Table and database for the country.
SAFOODS Exhibition Stand
Current SAFOODS publications on show at the congress are available as ePublications for procurement, via the website http://safoods.mrc.ac.za. The Food Composition Tables for South Africa (2017) contains nutrient information of close to 1700 food items. This publication is the 5th update of the Food Composition Tables and boasts increased information to the Infant and Paediatrics Feed and Foods chapter (previously named Baby Foods) and selected foods added to the Cereals and cereal products food group. Nutrient information for 36 nutrients are reported in the 2017 ePublication, whilst the online food composition database (http://safoods.mrc.ac.za/database.html) offers open access to energy, total carbohydrates, protein, lipids and fibre content of all foods within the food composition database. Currently, 70% of data in the national food composition database originates from South African sources, a statistic SAFOODS favours highly. Nutrient updates to food groups are largely attributable to successful collaborative initiatives and public/private partnerships.
The newly updated and recently launched Food Quantities Manual for South Africa (2018), another uniquely South African nutrition research tool, forms an integral part of the process of converting food intake data into nutrient intake data. The 3rd update of the Food Quantities Manual has new household measures information added to the following groups: Cereals and cereal products, Meat and Meat Products, Infant and Paediatric Feeds and Foods and Sugars, Syrups and Sweets. The Food Quantities Manual for South Africa ePublication can be acquired as of October 2018 via the website.
A sneak peak of the newly revamped and upgraded dietary analysis software program, FoodFinder, which migrates to a web-based application for all users to access easily, formed part of the Nutrition Congress stand showcase. Further details of the official launch of the software, will be communicated to clients and posted on the SAFOODS website. Daily competitions at the stand ensured participants a chance to win SAFOODS research tool packages, valued between R2000 and R5000. Congratulations to our lucky draw winners!
Users are encouraged to connect with Food Composition Database Compilers to share nutrient data or request food composition information, as compilers diligently strive to make SAFOODS a truly comprehensive South African research tool.
Van Graan A, Chetty J, Jumat M. Scientific literature key in establishing a first edition of a country specific food composition database: A multi-country collaboration. Oral presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Van Graan A, Chetty J, Jumat M. SAFOODS: What’s new? Current updates and advances. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Chetty J, Jumat M, Van Graan A. Updating milk and milk products data –from CoA to FCDB. The South African Food Composition Database process. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Chetty J, Jumat M, Van Graan A. Process for updating the South African Food Composition Database – Experience from Meat group update. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Jumat, M, Chetty J, Van Graan A. Updating the FoodFinder dietary intake analysis tool from a desktop to a web-based application. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Jumat, M, Chetty J, Van Graan A. Update of the South African Food Quantities Manual. Oral presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Chetty J, Van Wyk E, Van Graan A. SAFOODS website: Advancing our national Food Composition Database, client communication and information dissemination. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
Van Graan A, Chetty J, Jumat M, Mangwela A, Masangwi S, Ghosh S, Marino-Costello E. Development of the Malawian Food Composition Database: From scoping to launch and beyond. Poster presentation. Nutrition Congress. 5-7 September 2018. Johannesburg.
The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Biostatistics Research Unit: South African Food Data System (SAFOODS) Division, hosted international guests from the Malawi Ministry of Health: Department Nutrition & HIV/AIDS (DNHA) over the period 17-18 July 2018. This visit culminated in SAMRC divisions sharing the technical, operational and sustainable capacity required for housing a National Food Composition Database.
A successful grant application awarded to SAFOODS in 2016 from Tufts University, funded by Feed the Future and USAID, strengthened collaborative discussions between Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi, TUFTS and SAFOODS, resulting in a partnership which has ensued for the last 3 years. The primary aim of the funding awarded was for SAFOODS contribution as food compilation co-collaborators to assist in starting up a food composition database for Malawi. The fruition of a food composition database for Malawi has sprouted from this partnership, with the final launch of the database and tables intended for the latter part of 2018.
SAFOODS, operating within the Biostatistics Research Unit, under mentorship of Professor Samuel Manda, together with leadership from Dr Averalda van Graan, Manager of SAFOODS, showcased SAFOODS outputs and impact within South Africa during the visit. Dr Averalda van Graan, Mrs Joelaine Chetty and Mrs Malory Jumat, presented technical and operational requirements for the successful implementation, management and sustainability of housing a National Food Composition Database for a country.
Mr Felix Phiri, Chief Director, DNHA, Ministry of Health in Malawi together with Ms Maria Chidumu, Principal Nutrition Officer, DNHA, observed and engaged in the two-day presentations offered by various stakeholders supporting SAFOODS within the SAMRC. Supporting contributions including, Administrative support, Information Technology, Finance, Legal, Innovation and Corporate services, were valuable in achieving the overall aim of the visit from the Malawian guests, in housing a National Food Composition Database for Malawi, based on technical guidance from SAFOODS.
The successful collaboration between LUANAR, TUFTS, SAFOODS and Malawi DNHA will drive the food composition agenda into Africa in sustaining the newly developed Malawian Food Composition Database.
Professor Samuel Manda (Acting Unit Director Biostatistics Research Unit), Mr Felix Phiri (Malawi Ministry of Health: Chief Director Department Nutrition & HIV/AIDS), Mrs Jessica Petersen (Senior Officer Administration), Dr Averalda van Graan (Specialist Scientist/Manager: SAFOODS), Mrs Malory Jumat (Nutrition & Food Scientist-Food Compiler, SAFOODS), Ms Maria Chidumu (Malawi Ministry of Health:Principal Nutrition Officer, Department Nutrition & HIV/AIDS), Mrs Joelaine Chetty (Research Dietitian-Food Compiler, SAFOODS) and Dr Mongezi Mdhluli (Chief Research Operations Officer)
The South African Food Data System (SAFOODS) operates within the Biostatistics Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town, with the main aim of providing information on the energy and nutrition composition of foods consumed in South Africa. The information is aimed at scientists, healthcare professionals and others with an interest in food composition data.
Dr Averalda van Graan, Manager of SAFOODS, together with her Food Composition Compilation team, Mrs Joelaine Chetty and Mrs Malory Jumat, hosted two international visitors from the European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR) network, 12-13 February 2018.
Dr Paul Finglas, Head of Food Databanks National Capability and Research Leader in Food & Health, Quadram Institute, Bioscience, Norwich Research Park, UK, together with Dr Karl Presser affiliated to the university ETH Zùrich and Managing Partner, Premotec in Switzerland, visited the SAFOODS team.
The Quadram Institute successfully received the UK Global Challenges Research Funding Grant, to engage with African researchers in the area of food composition, intake and health. The two day visit entailed engaging with SAFOODS team, networking with stakeholders from the SAMRC Units Strategic Health and Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) and Information Technology (IT) and attendance of a food compilation software tool workshop and demonstration. The successful collaboration between SAFOODS and EuroFIR aims to improve data capturing of food composition within South Africa.
Mrs Joelaine Chetty (Research Dietitian-Food Compiler, SAFOODS), Dr Petro Wolmarans (Retired Manager:SAFOODS), Dr Karl Presser (ETH Zurich and Managing Partner:Premotec, Switzerland), Dr Averalda van Graan (Specialist Scientist and Manager:SAFOODS), Dr Paul Finglas (Head: Food Databanks National Capability and Research Leader in Food & Health, Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK), Mrs Malory Jumat (Nutrition & Food Scientist-Food Compiler, SAFOODS)