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There is a huge amount of information on the Internet but the quality is variable. Some reliable sources are suggested below.
See also the tips and suggestions to help you evaluate what's good and what's not!
General food-related websites
A news-based site which contains articles of topical interest (American bias).
A portal allowing cross-searching of numerous scientific journals and public science databases.
Unit operations in food processing / Earle
This is the free web edition of a popular textbook known for its simple approach to the diversity and complexity of food processing.
Food additives websites
Combined compendium of food additive specifications / FAO
Produced by the Joint FAO/WHO Committee on Food Additives this database includes food additives other than flavourings. The specifications can be searched by name, INS number, CAS number, or by other factors such as functional use.
EU Food additives database
Database of food additives approved for use in food in the EU and their conditions of use.
EU Food flavourings database
Database of flavouring substances approved for use in food in the EU and their conditions of use
Ingredients, packaging & labeling / US Food and Drug Administration
Information on allergens, ingredients, food and color additives, food contact substances, and labeling requirements.
Specifications for flavourings
Produced by the Joint FAO/WHO Committee on Food Additives this database includes food flavourings. The specifications can be searched by name, JECFA number, Flavour and Extract Manufacturer's Association of the USA (FEMA) number, Council of Europe (COE) number and the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number.
Food analysis & chemistry
The Chemical Thesaurus reaction chemistry database
Information about chemical entities and chemical reactions, interactions and processes. Allows you to jump from chemical to chemical via the associated interactions, reactions and processes.
Useful site for defining and identifying substances. Maintained by the US National Library of Medicine.
Search substance, compound or bioassay databases to find chemical information including structures, synonyms, molecular weight and formula.
Food safety: including microbiology, virology and toxicology
The "Bad Bug Book"(Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook)
This handbook provides basic facts regarding foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. It brings together in one place information from the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, and the National Institutes of Health.
A-Z index for foodborne illness
Information about a range of foodborne illnesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food safety handbook: a practical guide for building a robust food safety management system
This handbook covers food safety guidelines and regulations and is a compendium of the latest information on food safety systems.
Introduction to food toxicology (video lecture)
Lecture on food toxicology produced by the University of Idaho.
A membership organisation for scientists working in all areas of microbiology. Undergraduate membership is around £10 per year and gives access to the magazine Microbiology today.
National Toxicology Program
Site includes factsheets about specific aspects of toxicology and results of the toxicity studies it undertakes for specific chemicals.
Priority list of hazardous substances
Produced by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry this list contains substances which are considered to be a threat to human health due to their frequency, toxicity and potential for human exposure.
Society for Applied Microbiology
Full student membership, giving access to the Society's journals and email news updates is around £30 - half the usual subscription rate.
A multi-module learning tool providing an introduction to fundamental toxicological principles and concepts.
TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network)
TOXNET is a cluster of databases covering toxicology, hazardous chemicals and the environment. In TOXNET you can find TOXLINE which is one of the most well known toxicology databases containing bibliographic information on the biochemical, pharmacological, physiological and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals. It contains over 4 million citations, most of which have abstracts and CAS Registry numbers.
A self-paced tutorial covering key principles of toxicology produced by the US National Library of Medicine
Nutrition and food composition
British Nutrition Foundation
Includes information about specific food groups and news of latest developments.
Produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence this database searches across many sources to give high quality authoritative evidence and best practice guidance. Especially useful for information on clinical trials and intervention studies.
The International Network of Food Data Systems has developed standards and guidelines for collection, compilation, and reporting of food component data. Includes links to online sources of food composition information and discussion groups.
Search for articles across the biomedical sciences including nutrition.
Reports, position statements and annual reports of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).
Guidance issued by SACN to the UK Government and Public Health England on various nutrition-related topics.
USDA National Nutrient Database
Use to find the composition of a specific food. Also allows you to find the composition of different weights of that product.
Tips on evaluating websites
Before believing the information given on a web site, or quoting it in your essay or project, think about the following:
- Who is responsible for the page/site?
- Is it a reliable organisation (eg a well known university) or a subject expert?
- Can you trust them?
Accuracy and reliability
- Is the information correct?
- Is the grammar and spelling correct?
- Is it complete, or are they just giving one point of view?
- Do they have their own agenda eg political organisations?
- Is the information fact or opinion?
- Can you tell how up-to-date it is?
- Is it regularly updated?
- You don't want to quote out-of-date information
Audience / relevance
- Is the information of the right level to be quoted in your project? If it is aimed at the general public or school children it might not be!
- Is the site well structured and easy to navigate?
- Are the links from the page up-to-date and valid?
- If it is well designed and maintained then you can feel more confident about the information it provides
Citation example in the Harvard style
You should avoid citing webpages unless you are clear of their quality and suitability for inclusion in academic work.
Office of Dietary Supplements (2018) Dietary supplement fact sheet: folate. URL: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/ [6 January 2018]
See the Citing references tab in this guide for more detailed guidance on citing websites.
Guides & tutorials
Literature searching best practice guide
Produced by the International Food Information Service (IFIS) this guide covers all the steps involved in doing a literature search.
Engage in research
This site answers a wide range of questions about research and the scientific method. Includes interactive elements designed to test your knowledge.
Compiled by Dr David Jukes of the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, this site provides comprehensive listings of sites covering UK, European and International food law.
Organisations & institutions
Focuses on chemical and microbiological analysis in areas of food, drugs, agriculture, environment, forensics. We subscribe to their Official Methods of Analysis (see the link in the E-resources tab)
British Nutrition Foundation
Includes information about specific food groups and news of latest developments.
We are members of this organisation which provides technical support to the food, drinks and allied industries. Includes information about research interests, publications and training.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the body responsible for compiling the standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that constitute the Codex Alimentarius. The Codex Alimentarius, or Food Code, aims to protect public health and encourage fair practices in worldwide food trade. All the standards and databases are being made available on the website.
DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs)
Includes information aimed at UK food and drink manufacturing industries about improving competitiveness and information on food regulations applied to various food groups. Also provides information on water quality and drinking water. DEFRA statistics are also available free of charge.
Federation of Bakers
Useful source of information about bread and the bread baking industry - includes statistics.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Includes several databases with detailed statistics for production, trade and commodity supply and demand.
Food and Nutrition Information Center
The FNIC is one of several information centres at the National Agricultural Library, part of the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. From their site you can access all of FNIC's resource lists and databases, as well as many other food and nutrition related links.
IFIS (International Food Information Service)
IFIS produce a range of food-related information including the key database in this field - Food Science and Technology Abstracts. The IFIS site includes information about products and a list of journal titles scanned for inclusion in the FSTA database.
IFT (Institute of Food Technologists)
American organisation whose aim is to advance the science of food.
Institute of Food Science & Technology
Professional body for UK food professionals. The IFST site provides information about their Special Interest Groups and gives position statements on current food-related topics.
Leatherhead Food Research
Leatherhead Food Research is a research, information and training centre for the food and drinks industry. It's site includes information about services, products and publications.
Public Health England
Documents, policies and statistics from the UK Government on public health issues, including food and nutrition-related topics.
US Food and Drug Administration
Includes information on food additives, food safety and food labelling.
USDA Foreign Agriculture Service
Contains trends and production overviews for over 100 countries.
Google Scholar search
Use Google Scholar to find journal articles and other materials on the web. See our Google Scholar page for info on setting up preferences to see which articles are covered by Library subscriptions and to export details to EndNote.
Find the latest hot topics for the food industry using the RSS feeds below.
Latest news from Food Navigator
Latest news from Food and Nutrition Information Center
Latest news from the Food Standards Agency