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Food Types Register

The Food Types registers provide a web-accessible copy of the FoodEx2 standardised food classification and description system from the European Food Standards Agency.

Hierarchies

The scheme is divided into seven main hierarchies. Many individual codes appear in several hierarchies. There is a separate master hierarchy that is used to manage all the codes across the system. However, this hierarchy should not be used directly for coding or analysis purposes.

The main hierarchies are:

Hierarchy Description Approximate size
Reporting The default general purpose hierarchy to use for data input. 5000
Exposure Supports grouping of codes for analysing exposure. The preferred hierarchy to use for consumption reporting. 4500
Pesticide Provides codes for all terms reportable under the pesticide domain. 1800
Biological Monitoring (Zoonoses) Supports coding of a broad variety of samples for the biological monitoring domain. 4500
Veterinary Drug Residues Used for recording data on residues of veterinary medicinal products, organized by animal and animal groups. 650
Botanicals Coding for botanicals reported to contain naturally occurring substances of possible concern for human health when used in food and food supplements. 2500
Feed For reporting on feed materials.

Types of term

When reporting against a food type the system provides both specific terms (Core terms and Extended terms) to use for coding, together with more general terms (Aggregation Term and Aspecific term) that can be used in some cases where the specific term is not known or not available in the system. However, some terms are only present in order to create a navigable hierarchy and should not be used for reporting. These Hierarchy terms are marked as such in the register. The list of types of terms is given in the corex register.

Terms are also marked with the state of the food stuff from raw commodities through different levels of processing.

State Description
Raw Primary Commodities (RPC) Pieces physically separated from a live source after harvesting (plants) or slaughtering (animals); the separation may also be less invasive, such as picking fruit or collecting milk or eggs. No process changing the 'nature' has been applied. Processes assumed, in the context of this classification, not to change the nature of food (e.g. freezing) can be applied.
RPC Derivatives/ ingredients Food products obtained from raw commodities (or chemical/microbiological sources) by applying processes that change the ‘nature’ of food.
Composite food simple Food products obtained from commodities and/or derivatives through processes that involve recipes (association of different ingredients).
Composite food aggregated Food products obtained from commodities and/or derivatives through processes that involve recipes (association of different ingredients).
Broad or mixed groups Contain a mixture of different states.

Facets and coding

In addition to the individual specific and general terms FoodEx2 supports the notion of creating extended codes. These combine some single base Food Type entry with a set of facets which can be used to refine and qualify the code. These can add specific detail (such as the alcohol content of an alcoholic beverage) or can describe additional processes, ingredients or packaging or surrounding material. For each facet, there is a specific hierarchy which gives the legal values for that facet.

Note that many terms in the system have implicit facets which typically describe the origin (base commodity or ingredient) from which the food type was derived and the processes applied. The registry will display these implicit facets.

In FoodEx2 individual terms are given a short code such as A006Q which is used for recording information. This registry provides URLs for each code which can similarly be used for recording information but have the advantage the you can then put them in a browser in order to find out the code means - http://data.food.gov.uk/codes/foodtype/id/A006Q.

For extended terms FoodEx2 uses a syntax to combine a base code with a set of facet values. For example:

A03BG#F09.A0EXH$F10.A077L$F21.A07SE

This registry provides a similar syntax to allow such codes to be expressed as a URL which can then be looked up:

http://data.food.gov.uk/codes/foodtype/id/A03BG?F09=A0EXH&F10=A077L&F21=A07SE

The registry will display both the explicit facets together with the facets already implicit from the base food type code.

The registry provides a coding tool to simplify the creation (or decoding) of these extended codes. This is a prototype and does not include any of the complex guidance and rules needed to ensure consistent choice of coding. It should thus not be used for production coding except by experts familiar with FoodEx2 coding rules.