July 15, 2022
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the agency’s Total Diet Study (TDS) Report: Fiscal Years 2018-2020 Elements Data and associated data tables. The TDS is an essential tool that helps the FDA prioritize food safety and nutrition efforts. This report is our first in a series on FY2018-FY2020 TDS data and summarizes our most recent data on nutrients and toxic elements from the agency’s on-going survey of the U.S. Food Supply.
The TDS elements report debuts the FDA’s new study design for the TDS, which was implemented in 2018 to increase the quality of the data and improve our dietary exposure assessments. The key changes include streamlined analytical methods, a population-based sampling plan, an updated food list, and a system for relating TDS data to data from the What We Eat In America (WWEIA) survey, the food consumption portion of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
For the FY2018-FY2020 reporting cycle, 307 foods (including foods, beverages, and water) were analyzed for 25 elements (both nutrients and toxic elements). Select nutrients include calcium, iodine, iron, and potassium and are analyzed because inadequate intakes of these nutrients can lead to poor health outcomes. The TDS also tests for select toxic elements, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, which have been prioritized by the FDA for taking action to reduce exposure to these substances through food, as detailed in the agency’s Closer to Zero Action Plan, because babies and young children are more vulnerable to their harmful effects.
The agency will continue to update the TDS webpages as additional reports on pesticides and radionuclides are finalized.