Community Food System Data Tables


Map showing location of KarenThis field study took place in the rural villages of Ban Rai Pa (Thong Pha Phum District) and Sanephong (Laiwo District), two Karen communities in western Thailand. The villages are surrounded by mountainous and forested regions.

Sanephong is located in Thungyai Naresuan National Wildlife Sanctuary about 336 km northwest of Bangkok adjacent to the Myanmar border and about 12 km east of Sangkhlaburi municipality (Figure 1).

Information on traditional food consumed by the Karen was gathered through group discussion and key-informant interviews. This involved researchers from Mahidol University (Research Group of Dr. Suttilak Smitasiri, Institute of Nutrition), Ban Rai Pa Village, Sanephong Village, and the Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and the Environment (CINE) at McGill University.

The Ban Rai Pa study was conducted in 1997 with financial support from the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the Food and Agriculture Organization, Sight and Life, and Biodiversity Research and Training Program, Thailand (BRT). The Sanephong study, entitled “Process and methods towards the improvement of health and traditional well-being of indigenous children and their care providers in Sanephong community, Thailand” was conducted between 2004 and 2005 with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Micronutrient Global Leadership Program. Names of these participating institutes and team members are listed below:

Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University (INMU)

  • 1. Prof. Dr Sakorn Dhanamitta, Technical Advisor
    2. Dr Suttilak Smitasiri, Main Collaborator and Team Leader
  • Division of Communication and Behavioral Sciences
  • 3. Ms Prapa Kongpanya
    4. Ms Sinee Chotiboriboon
    5. Ms Charana Sappasuwan
    6. Praiwan Tantivatanasathien
  • Division of Community Nutrition
  • 7. Ms Orapin Banjong
    8. Ms Sopa Tamachotipong
    9. Mrs Pasamai Eg-kantrong
  • Division of Food Microbiology
  • 10. Dr. Prapasri Puwastien
  • Division of Food Chemistry
  • 11. Dr. Kunchit Judprasong

Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University (LCRD)

  • 12. Dr Solot Sirisai
    13. Ms Souwalak Kusontaramas
    14. Ms Chujai Sahassadee
    15. Mr Boonlerd Janthra

Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University

  • 16. Ms Chaveevarn Boonchuyar

Sanephong Community

  • 17. Mr. Anon Setapan, Community Leader
    18. Mr Suaijeemoong Sangkhawimol
    19. Mr Sompop Sangkhachalatarn
    20. Ms Benchamas Chumvaratayee
    21. Ms Mailong-ong Sangkhachalatarn
    22. Mr Suwatchai Saisangkhachawarit

Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Division of Plant Varieties Protection

  • 23. Mr Jaray Sadakorn
    24. Mrs Tippan Sadakorn
    25. Mr Winai Somprasong
    26. Mr Pranai Phenchit


  • 27. Ms Donrudee Kutan

The Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University

  • 28. Prof. Dr Harriet Kuhnlein

Notes on food groups

Users should be aware that the data presented here do not represent absolute values. The purpose of this publication is to present a true reflection of the usual composition of foods as available and/or consumed among Karen community members. This is a living document and nutrient information will be added and/or updated when available.

Data were collected for a total of 157 food items which were then divided into six food groups:

Nutrient information is from various sources.

The foods were photographed at Ban Rai Pa and Sanephong villages by either KP Studios or the INMU and LCRD teams, with financial support from USAID's Micronutrient Global Leadership program. Local food names were recorded by either their Thai or Karen name. The scientific identification and English name were also determined when possible.

Notes on food components

There are approximately 16 to 18 components in the main body of the tables, which are presented in a fixed format for each record. The order of presentation is based on major nutrients categories.

The information on the analytical details for the majority of the components can be obtained from the referenced literature.

Vitamin A values are reported in both Vitamin A retinol equivalents (RE-µg) and in retinol activity equivalents (RAE-µg). These values are calculated and reported for foods for which beta carotene and total carotene values are available. Vitamin A RAE values are reported for compatibility with the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommendations.



1. Puwastein, P., Burlingame, B., Raroengwichit, M., Sungpuag, P., 2000. ASEAN Food Composition Tables. Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University (INMU), Thailand. ASEANFOODS Coordinator and INFOODS Regional Database Centre.

2. Gopalan, G., Rama Sastri, B.V., Balasubramanian S.C., 2002. Nutritive Value of Indian Foods. National Institute of Nutrition. Indian Council of Medical Research. Hyderabad-500 007. India.

3. Kennedy, G., 2001. Report of short-term consulting contract for CINE project: Documenting traditional food Systems of Indigenous Peoples in Asia.

4. Puwastein, P., Raroengwichit, M., Sungpuag, P., Judprasong, K., 1999. Thai Food Composition Tables. Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University (INMU), Thailand ASEANFOODS Regional Database Centre of INFOODS.

5. FAO/IDRC Sabbatical Project Report. Karen Case Study’s Report.

6. Food Composition for the Near East, 1982. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 26. A research project jointly sponsored by FAO, Food Policy and Nutrition Division and USDA, Human Nutrition Information Division.

7. RAP 2001/26. Under utilized tropical fruit of Thailand. FAO of the United Nations, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok, Thailand, December 2001.

8. Food Composition Table for Use in East Asia, 1971. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and US Department of Health Education and Welfare, record # 138.

9. China Food Composition Database, 2002. Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety, China CDC.

10. Johnson, N., Grivetti, L.E., 2002. Gathering practices of Karen women: questionable contribution to beta-carotene intake. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 53: 489-501.

11. Rajayalakshmi, P., Venkatalaxmi, K., Venkatalakshmamma, Y., Jyothsna, K., Balachandramani, D., Suneetha, V., 2001. Total carotenoids and beta-carotene contents of forest green leafy vegetables consumed by tribal of South India. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 56: 225-238.

12. Smitasiri S., et al., 2005. Process and Methods towards the Improvement of Health and Nutritional Well Being of Indigenous Children and Their Care Providers in Sanephong Community, Thailand: Application to Micronutrient and Traditional Food Promotion Programs. Nakhon Pathom: Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University; Unpublished report.

13. Nutrition Division, Health Department, Ministry of Public Health. 1987. Nutritive Values of Thai Foods in 100 g edible portion. Bangkok, Thailand. War Veterans Press.

14. Nutrition Division, Health Department, Ministry of Public Health. 1992. Nutritive Values of Thai Foods. Bangkok, Thailand. War Veterans Press.

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