The way foods are sampled and collected can also impact the quality of the composition data. Many nutrient values vary substantially across multiple samples of the same food. Nutrient composition can be affected not only by the species and cultivar of a plant but also by the growing conditions, time of harvest, and length of storage. Because it is seldom feasible to match all these factors with the diets to be analyzed, composite values, based on the average of multiple samples, are usually given in food composition tables.
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