Author(s): Masson L
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Abstract LATINFOODS is the Latin American organization, affiliated to INFOODS, involved in the generation and compilation of data on the composition of foods, and with the methods of analysis and the users of the data. UN and FAO are the organizations which have supported the activities of this network, through the realization of workshops, specific courses, symposia analyzing present situation and future plans of action. One of the concrete actions has been the preliminary edition of the Food Composition Table of Latin America (1998). Among the priorities of LATINFOODS is the generation of data on various nutrients, among which the carotenoid pigments occupy a fundamental place. The original reason for their determination and their compulsory inclusion in food composition tables of all countries was related directly to their provitamin A activity or retinol equivalents as classically expressed in the mentioned tables. In this context, beta-carotene, because of its higher biological activity, was preferentially determined. It is known that in nature, both in the plant and in the animal kingdom, there are numerous carotenoid pigments that play diverse roles, other than the classic ability to confer attractive color to foodstuffs, ranging from yellow, passing through orange to red. The desire to know the composition of the different carotenes and xanthophylls in fresh and processed foods has increased in recent years because of their biological activity as antioxidants in vivo in humans. This circumstance has given new impulse to the study of carotenoids in foods other than beta-carotene. Methods to determine carotenoids constitute another priority for LATINFOODS. A course sponsored by FAO has been carried out, but the realization of new concrete activities is necessary, given the complexity of the subject which requires vast experience and is led in Brazil by Dr. Delia Rodriguez-Amaya. It is hoped that the next edition of the Food Composition Table for Latin America, which will be published in two years, will have the maximum information about these compounds. Our region is privileged with native foods which are potentially excellent sources of carotenoids. It is our duty to carry out this investigation as soon as possible, considering its importance at all levels.
This article was published in Arch Latinoam Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Hypertension: Open Access