One of the strategic aims of EuroFIR is to establish a quality framework for national food composition databases (FCDB) and associated analytical laboratories. This quality management system is structured around three modules: quality management, project management and technical and scientific competence. Key elements that have been identified and developed include:
- A harmonised compilation process (including a consistent system of documentation and the data evaluation process) and the identification of its hazards and critical points, with the development of corresponding Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Future ‘certification’ of compilers, through a programme of initial and ongoing professional development, and audits to evaluate/monitor compiler performance
- Improvements in addressing users’ and stakeholders’ needs
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
A major achievement has been the identification of each step in the compilation process, its hazards and critical points, which are presented as a generic EuroFIR flowchart, resulting in the preparation of SOPs. This is a first for the food composition community.
A number of generic SOPs have now been produced:
- Identification of relevant foods, nutrients, background information
- Attribution of quality index to all original data
- Coding of original data before data entry
- Check on original data coding and data entry
- Physical storage of original data (physical records)
- Selection of original data to produce aggregated data
- Selection and application of algorithms in order to produce aggregated and compiled data
- Validation of aggregated and compiled data
- Selection of aggregated and compiled data to be disseminated as published databases or table
The proposed quality framework also encompasses compilers certification. The certification process will be based on the generic compilation process. It will require a description of processes and will not be prescriptive about what should be included in documentation or the level of documentation required.
Analytical method guidelines have been drafted and provide compilers with comprehensive information on acceptable methods for each nutrient with key critical steps for each method. Further guidance and tools are included to assist compilers to evaluate method performance, and evaluate the quality of data obtained by compatible in-house methods.
EuroFIR Quality Index Guidelines (PDF – 4,9MB)