Collecting Additional Protein Composition Data

Dietary intake assessment depends on the quality of the protein concentration data. Data should be obtained using validated methods that are appropriate for the goals of the assessment. Where data are to be collected for a few foods and used in combination with existing data, it is important that comparable sampling and analytical methods be followed. When undertaking programs to generate data on protein levels in foods, the sampling procedure selected and how it is carried out are critical for the validity of the results obtained. Different sampling plans and methods are required depending on the objectives of the studies. The following questions should be answered when the sampling plan is designed. Is the food list representative of those normally consumed by the population and/or the specific age/sex groups to be investigated? Are there unusual scenarios that need to be considered? How many sampling sites are involved and are they representative? Does sampling account for regional differences in soil content, climates, and good agricultural practice, as well as those foods extensively distributed on a national basis, including imported foods? Are seasonal differences also considered? Are the main brands/cultivars covered for each food? Is sample size sufficient? Have standard operating procedures (SOPs) been established to standardize sampling?9

To estimate long-term protein intake, data based on random, composite samples may be adequate, provided that the food items incorporate sufficient data to capture variation due to different regions, locations, and seasons from different brands, varieties, and even food types (e.g., milks and milk products). In cases where the assessment will be for a single meal or for a single day's intake, it will be important to capture the foods that contain the protein(s) of interest for a single day without averaging days when the foods of interest are not consumed.

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