BDA is a compiled database: food composition data come from pre-existing sources (food composition tables and databases, scientific articles, etc.) and not by ad-hoc laboratory analyses. Particular attention was paid to obtain a suitable tool for epidemiological studies: selection of food representative of those consumed at national level, with analytical data based on Italian food, whenever available. In case of missing Italian data, foreign sources were used, to provide a nutritional profile as complete as possible. Finally, considerable efforts have been put in creating an easily accessible tool.

More details of the methodology used are described in the book published in 2022 (discover the book) and the one published in 1998 (download the book).

In 2012 the BDA compilation process has been reviewed and certified by EuroFIR (European Food Information Resource Network –, with the aim of verifying the adherence to standards and operating procedures that ensure quality and validity of food composition data generated at national and international level. Within this certification process, the BDA group has thus identified all compilation procedures, summarized in an ad hoc flow chart and in the related documentation files.