Guidelines on assessing biodiverse foods in dietary intake surveys
This report (PDF) from FAO and Bioversity International provides new scientific guidelines for collecting information on food biodiversity through dietary surveys. The authors argue that information on food consumption goes hand in hand with information on food composition and both are essential building blocks for nutrition science. Rather than debate which element should come first in research, the authors argue that joint efforts are needed to gain a better understanding of consumption and composition of food biodiversity. They hope this stimulates users to foster collaboration in filling information gaps and building upon findings. In order to mainstream biodiversity and improve nutrition at national and local levels, a thorough understanding of the contribution of food biodiversity to healthy diets and sustainable food systems is needed. While dietary assessment surveys provide information on the nutrient adequacy of diets, few are designed to capture the consumption of foods with taxonomic details below the level of ‘species’. This offers an opportunity to adapt these instruments to better capture this information. Currently, there are few national and regional food consumption surveys that report food biodiversity, particularly at the cultivar/breed level. The guidelines will facilitate the adaptation of existing dietary assessment instruments to better capture food biodiversity.