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LanguaL™  -  the International Framework for Food Description


 Updated 2014-03-30

LanguaL™ is a Food Description Thesaurus

LanguaL™ stands for "Langua aLimentaria" or "language of food". It is an automated method for describing, capturing and retrieving data about food. The work on LanguaL™ was started in the late 1970's by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) of the United States Food and Drug Administration as an ongoing co-operative effort of specialists in food technology, information science and nutrition.

Since then, LanguaL™ has been developed in collaboration with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), and, more recently, its European partners, notably in France, Denmark, Switzerland and Hungary. Since 1996, the European LanguaL™ Technical Committee has administered the thesaurus.

The thesaurus provides a standardised language for describing foods, specifically for classifying food products for information retrieval. LanguaL™ is based on the concept that:

LanguaL™ is a multilingual thesaural system using facetted classification. Each food is described by a set of standard, controlled terms chosen from facets characteristic of the nutritional and/or hygienic quality of a food, as for example the biological origin, the methods of cooking and conservation, and technological treatments.

One problem concerning multilingual thesauri is the multiplicity of natural languages: corresponding terms of different languages are not always semantically equivalent. It was chosen to render LanguaL™ language-independent, to be used in the USA and Europe for numeric data banks on food composition (nutrients and contaminants), food consumption and legislation. Each descriptor is identified by a unique code pointing to equivalent terms in different languages (e.g. Czech, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Hungarian).

LanguaL™ thus facilitates links to many different food data banks and contributes to coherent data exchange. LanguaL is the only generally recognised method in common use for describing, capturing and retrieving data about food, adapted to computerised national and international food composition and consumption databanks.

About 35000 foods in food composition databases LanguaL™ indexed

More than 27000 foods in European food composition databases are now LanguaL™ indexed to facilitate search and retrieval in the context of the EuroFIR eSearch Prototype facility, and currently the EuroFIR FoodExplorer.
In addition, the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference is now partly LanguaL™ indexed. The indexing files are available from the USDA ARS Nutrient Data site.

In total, more than 35000 European, North American foods and foods from other countries are now LanguaL™ indexed.




 News
7th edition of McCance & Widdowson's The Composition of Foods.

2014-07-20
The official book launch of the 7th edition of McCance & Widdowson's The Composition of Foods to be held at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London on Tuesday 16th September 2014, 09:30 - 13:30. For more information, see FDNC website.
 
LanguaL™ FPI ver. 3.99 available.

2014-06-22
The LanguaL™ Food Product Indexer, version 3.99, available with the LanguaL™ 2013 thesaurus. See Downloads.
 
LanguaL™ 2013 published.

2014-03-30
The 2013 version of LanguaL™ published.
The documentation is available and can be downloaded, see Downloads.
 
Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012.

2014-03-14
The Nordic Council of Ministers has published the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012
For more information, see the norden.org website.