FoodOn Structure

FoodOn is compatible with the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), which means that all the classes provided by FoodOn are organized under BFO classes, and reasoning over the ontology does not lead to BFO-related contradictions. FoodOn actually includes BFO, so when one explores the ontology from the top-down, it is a bit more complicated to see where BFO ends and FoodOn terms start.  The diagrams on this page show the location of key FoodOn classes or facets (which are documented separately on the facets page) as they appear in the Protege ontology editor. FoodOn “food material” is a type of ENVO ontology “environmental material” (under “fiat object part” because the boundary between adjacent environmental materials may be difficult to define physically, and this carries over to edible vs. inedible parts of food entities too.

One will also see other key FoodOn facets (many of which came from LanguaL) under the material entity class. Food contact material, food consumer group, part of organism, and constituent chemicals are all found here.

The “food material” hierarchy contains FoodOn’s main “food product” polyhierarchy of over 9,600 food products, as well as upper-level international, European and American food categorization schemas which will ultimately be mapped to FoodOn product type categories.

The “food transformation process” class is positioned under BFO “process”.  Some FoodOn processes can be multi-purpose (for example, freezing can be for food preservation, or to produce an effect, like in ice cream) others are specific to preservation or other process objectives.

Observable qualities of food – the flesh texture of fish, or the colour of a fruit flesh or skin for example – are located in “food object quality” under PATO quality (there is also an adjacent BFO “quality” term because the two are not yet ontologically unified).

Some other information categories that are about food items are located in “food datum” under “information content entity”. Such information usually can’t be seen directly as qualities of a food item, but rather are legislative facts or manufacturer claims about the item.