Emergency prepping is essential to ensuring you have all the resources to survive whatever comes your way. The first thing you should consider when you prepare for an emergency is, DIY long term food storage. Afterall, you can only go about 8-21 days without food and an emergency could last much longer than a week.

Storing shelf stable food items that provide essential nutrients is critical to thriving in an emergency. You can spend hours online trying to find out how long a given food item stays fresh but, sometimes, you may end up with more questions than answers. Or, worse, you might rely on sources with inaccurate information.

So, how can you be sure that you are getting the correct shelf-life information for any food item? 

You can visit this website: FoodData Central (https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html), an online resource established by the US Department of Agriculture. 

This online resource is created to support the evolving world of agriculture and the food industry. Expert researchers, health professionals, and policy makers use this resource, but it could also be helpful to any long-term food storage prepper! 

If you are using Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for long-term food storage, FoodData Central will provide you with the complete nutrient profile and information regarding water content of a given food to give you a full picture of its shelf life. This will help you prep with Mylar effectively.

Here are a few special features of FoodData Central and how it can help you build a long-term food storage plan.

  • Data Type Documentation. Since the online resource is equivalent to a large database with extensive information, you must access the data type documentation page to understand the complexities of the data available. 
  • Get Five Data Types. The online resource provides an extensive profile of different food items categorized into five data types. 
  • Extensive Research. As mentioned above, finding the right food information from all over the Internet can be difficult. There is a high chance the information is inaccurate. However, with FoodData Central, you can get accurate food information. The information has been gathered from extensively published scientific research. So, you can find a detailed nutrient profile of any food item!
  • Continuous Updates. Since the field of food and agriculture is evolving and constant research is being conducted, you can get updated food details on FoodData Central. The online resource is continuously updated allowing you to tweak your long-term food storage accordingly. 
  • Get Nutrient Information for Brand Food Products. The online resource has specific nutrient information for brand food products. This is achieved in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS), GS1 US, 1WorldSync, Label Insight, and the University of Maryland, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. This research was conducted to ensure more transparency in nutritional information printed on brand products.

How to Use FoodData Central?

Using this online resource is extremely easy! You don’t need any special skills to navigate this online food index.

  • Start by visiting: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html to open the home page. 
  • Type the name of the food item you want nutritional information for. Use the search tool “Search Foods in FoodData Central:”. Press Enter.
  • You will get a list of results for the given food item. You can choose the result you see most fit. You now have the whole nutrient profile along with water content. 

For example, you wanted to know about wheat, its nutrient profile, and especially its water content. You can type wheat in the search tool. You will currently get 5 results, each categorized separately. You can get information for wheat flour, unenriched, enriched, bleached, and unbleached. You can also get information on wheat when it is consumed in form of bread. You can also get a nutrient profile of wheat when consumed as all-purpose flour. 

Similarly, you can get extensive details for any food item. 

Bottom Line

As you can see, FoodData Central provides a comprehensive nutrient profile for any food item you want to learn more about. We definitely recommend you check it out. 

For more information on long-term food storage, Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, online resources, and more, keep reading our Wallaby blog! In addition to providing high-quality Mylar bags along with oxygen absorbers bundles, we also provide expert advice on long-term food storage.

For more tips on food storage and supplies, visit our blog or browse our food storage solutions.