New collaboration to integrate a growing food database with AI to better understand the connection between production processes and health outcomes from the foods we love

Davis, California, 27 February, 2024 

The USDA AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS), Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH) at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) along with the Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) announce a collaboration integrating a robust food composition database with AI to elucidate the relationship between production practices and human health in foods we love and rethinking dietary guidelines. 

Group photo of event attendees

Group photo from collaborative event hosted by AIFS, IIFH, and PTFI to explore how AI and food systems data can enhance human and planetary health.

The future of human and planetary health requires a transformation of the current global food systems to create sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems that can deliver healthy and culturally accepted diets. This collaboration serves as a turning point in food innovation. Integrating AI and multi-omics data to examine and visualize the relationship between the way we grow and produce our food and the impacts on human and planetary health will expand opportunities for disruptive innovations across the food value chain. 

“To drive best industry practices and inform public policy, it is important to connect the dots between sustainability and health,” said Ilias Tagkopoulos, Director of AIFS. “For the first time, we can start mining data to determine which sustainable practices lead to great products for our health, thus linking planetary and human health at a large scale from molecules to consumer products. AIFS is committed to working with our partners to create the AI tools needed to realize this vision.”

Diet Related diseases, from undernutrition to obesity, are affecting the world population at increasingly alarming rates. Certain agricultural practices compromise the environment and natural resources that support food quality, security, and nutrition. To create equitable food options that support both human and environmental health, next generation production, processing, and distribution methods will be needed to optimize staple foods to deliver the health benefits we need.

“With diet-related diseases accounting for one in five deaths around the world and traditional farming practices compromising the planet, it is evident that food is at the center of some of the most pressing global challenges of today,”said Selena Ahmed, Global Director of the PTFI. “We must act now to transform the way we produce food through data-driven solutions that are both good for people and the planet.”

The information generated from projects like this are further enabling the accessibility of information to drive innovation in the food system and allow stakeholders to deliver culturally desirable food products that maximize human and planetary health.

“The IIFH is committed to advancing research that can be translated into commercializable technologies to enable people to eat the foods they love without compromising on cultural preferences, planetary health, or overall health and well-being. We believe in the power of collaboration and are excited to work with AIFS and PTFI to rapidly advance our understanding of complex datasets to enable transformative innovations in making the foods we love healthy for people and the planet,” said Justin Siegel, Director of IIFH. 

The initial projects will have a one-year program of work with the release of findings to be published following the completion of the projects. 


About USDA AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems:

The USDA AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS) at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) aims to solve the world’s biggest challenges to crop and food production facing our planet: ensuring a sustainable, nutritious, efficient, and safe food supply while mitigating the impacts of climate change.

About Innovation Institute for Food and Health:

The Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH) at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is a leading food and health research institute working with industry leaders and academic experts to find healthier ways to make the foods people love. The Institute is focused on creating a future where people can enjoy the foods they love, and those foods are both good for them and the planet.

About Periodic Table of Food Initiative:

The Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) is a global effort to create a public database of the biochemical composition and function of the food we eat using the state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technologies and bioinformatics.

Media Contacts:

Kristin Singhasemanon, USDA AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems, [email protected]

Marissa Pickard, Innovation Institute for Food and Health, [email protected]

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