07/07/2020 3 min

Table of nutritional composition of foods (CIQUAL): ANSES supplements its data and publishes its work priorities for the coming years

With 3185 foods listed, the CIQUAL table managed by ANSES is the reference database on the nutritional composition of the most widely consumed foods in France. The new 2020 version of CIQUAL now includes details of all the individual sugars contained in foods. It also provides the latest data on the main fruits and vegetables, including those grown in the French overseas territories. And to bring it in line with the new food practices of the French population, the table now includes around 50 new foods consumed as part of a vegetarian diet. In addition, following a broad consultation undertaken with its users, the Agency is today publishing the top priority work themes being considered to supplement the CIQUAL table and optimise its use.

The CIQUAL table, managed by ANSES since 1985, is regularly updated through sampling and analysis programmes and data collected from operators, distributors and inter-professional associations, in particular via OQALI (the French Food Observatory). Currently listing 3185 foods, it is one of the most comprehensive nutritional composition tables in Europe and provides an essential knowledge base for assessing nutritional risks. Universally accessible, the dedicated website receives more than 70,000 visits per month.

Different sugar levels, fruits and vegetables from the French overseas territories and foods consumed by vegetarians have now been added to the CIQUAL 2020 table

For the very first time, the 2020 version of the CIQUAL table provides data on the details of individual sugars (lactose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose and galactose) in the main contributors to sugar intake. This addition follows on from ANSES's opinion on the updating of the French National Health & Nutrition Programme guidelines (PDF) (2016), which set an upper intake level of 100 grams per day for total sugar consumption (excluding lactose and galactose).

Sampling of over a hundred fruits and vegetables from metropolitan France[1] and the islands of Martinique and Reunion[2] ("Colombo" papaya, green banana, chayote, okra, yam, etc.), has also ensured production of more up-to-date, reliable and comprehensive data.

ANSES constantly strives to adapt its work to the new food practices of the French population. The CIQUAL table therefore now includes complete nutritional composition data on ingredients (tofu, plant-based drinks, etc.) and processed products consumed as part of a vegetarian diet.

A user survey to help define CIQUAL's future directions

To understand users' expectations and better meet their needs, a working group was commissioned to conduct a satisfaction survey and enquiries.

This broad consultation showed that the quality of the CIQUAL tool was widely recognised and shared by users. In particular, 93% of users (dieticians, manufacturers, distributors, consumer associations, nutrition experts, etc.) reported trusting the available data. To improve future versions of CIQUAL, users suggested supplementing its content (by adding new constituents, new foods, etc.) and optimising data use and visualisation. On the basis of these proposals, the Agency will give priority to work on determining levels of free and added sugars and studying organic foods. It will also optimise the website's search engine.

In addition to the implementation of these activities, the CIQUAL project will pursue groundwork to ensure the reliability of the published data and to raise users' awareness of the issue of variability in nutritional composition and the associated uncertainty.

The findings of this working group, some of which have already been addressed in the CIQUAL 2020 table, provide a solid basis for preparing future versions.


[1] Working with the French Agency for Research and Information on Fruit and Vegetables (Aprifel)

[2] Working with the Martinique Agri-resources and Research Cluster, the Qualitropic Competitiveness Cluster and the Reunion Interprofessional Fruit and Vegetable Association