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Introduction to Total Diet Study (TDS)

Total Diet Study (TDS) has been recognised internationally as the most cost effective way to estimate dietary exposures to food chemicals or nutrients for various population groups and to assess their associated health risks. It provides a scientific basis for assessing food safety risks and regulating food supply. It can also facilitate risk managers to focus their limited resources on food chemicals or nutrients that may pose the greatest risks to public health.

TDS is a large and complex project with many components. Foods commonly consumed are purchased, prepared as normally consumed, i.e. table-ready forms, in a manner consistent with cultural habits, and then analysed for a range of substances. Analytical results on the concentration of substances in food are combined with the food consumption data to obtain dietary exposure. Dietary exposure estimated is then compared to (a) the relevant safety reference for the food chemical of concern, such as the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) or Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI), or (b) the nutritional reference values for the nutrient of concern, such as the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) for assessing the associated health risks.