At A Glance
- Sample collections (market baskets) of food are conducted across seasons and regions of the country.
- Market basket study designed to measure the levels of nutrient elements, contaminants, and pesticide residues in foods. The study does not provide estimates of energy or macronutrient levels in foods.
- Food purchasing, preparation, and analytic methods are standardized and controlled.
- Analytical results are linked to national food consumption survey data to estimate dietary intakes for selected sex and age groups.
To collect data on levels of contaminants, pesticide residues, and nutrients in table-ready foods in the United States (U.S.) and to estimate dietary intakes of these substances.
Table-ready foods consumed in the U.S. and its territories.
Began in 1961. Conducted quarterly. Most recent year conducted was 2017.
TDS Elements are current to 2015
TDS Pesticides are current to 2012
TDS Radionuclides are current to 2014
Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The TDS assesses the levels of nutritional elements, elemental contaminants, industrial chemicals, pesticide residues, and radionuclides in the U.S. food supply and in the representative diets of specific sex and age groups. The TDS also monitors trends in the levels and dietary intake of these substances over time.
Foods, not individuals, are sampled. The foods collected in the Total Diet Study (TDS) are based on results of national food consumption surveys. Learn more about the food sampling design.
Approximately 280 foods, including about 50 infant foods, are analyzed each quarter.
Sample collections, or market baskets, are generally carried out four times a year, once in each of four regions of the country (West, North Central, South, and Northeast). For each market basket, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) personnel purchase each of the 280 foods from grocery stores and fast food restaurants in three cities within the region. Each year, different cities are selected for sample collections to provide more geographic representation. Washington, DC and San Juan, Puerto Rico have been included in past market baskets in addition to major metropolitan areas in various states.
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Age group||Link to national food consumption survey data|
|Average consumption of various table-ready foods (by sex and age group)||Based on national food consumption survey data|
|Element intake||Total Diet Study (TDS) analytical results linked to national food consumption survey data|
|Industrial chemical intake||TDS analytical results linked to national food consumption survey data|
|Pesticide intake||TDS analytical results linked to national food consumption survey data|
|Radionuclide intake||TDS analytical results linked to national food consumption survey data|
|Sex||Link to national food consumption survey data|
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Census region, state, city||N/A|
TDS analytical results for contaminant, pesticide residue and nutrient levels in foods have been merged with national food consumption data (most recently, the 1994-98 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals [CSFII]) to estimate intakes of the TDS analytes.
Data Access and Cost
Access data at the Total Diet Study website.
Toxic and Nutritional Elements: 1991-2011
Pesticide Residues and Industrial Chemicals: 1991-2005
Free of charge.
Census region, state, city.
Total Diet Study (TDS) analytical results for contaminant, pesticide residue and nutrient levels in foods have been merged with national food consumption data (most recently, the 1994-98 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals [CSFII]) to estimate intakes of the TDS analytes for the following groups:
• M/F 6-11 months
• M/F 2 years
• M/F 6 years
• M/F 10 years
• F 14-16 years
• M 14-16 years
• F 25-30 years
• M 25-30 years
• F 40-45 years
• M 40-45 years
• F 60-65 years
• M 60-65 years
• F 70+ years
• M 70+ years
• Total population
Both the TDS food lists and diets were most recently compiled in 2003 from national consumption survey data through a process of aggregating survey foods and consumption amounts. During the food consumption surveys, detailed information was collected on the types and amounts of food consumed by each survey participant. More than 5,000 different foods were reported in the survey, and these foods were the basis for the 2003 food lists and diets. Although there were many fewer TDS foods (~ 280) than survey foods (> 5,000), the goal of the TDS diets is to account for total food consumption. To accomplish this, the survey foods were aggregated according to their similarity to TDS foods and a “mapping” file was created in which each survey food was assigned to one of the TDS foods.
For a list of related journal articles, please see Publications.
Egan SK, Bailey C. FDA's Total Diet Study: Monitoring U.S. food supply safety. Food Safety Magazine. July 2002.
Egan SK, Tao SS-H, Pennington JAT, Bolger PM. U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study: Intake of nutritional and toxic elements, 1991-96. Food Additives and Contaminants 2002;19(2):103-125.
Pennington JAT. Total diet studies—experiences in the United States. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 2000;13(4):539-544.