A cycle of 13 basic meals lunches, planned and executed at an industrial feeding unit was studied, in order to verify the agreement between the nutritive value estimated by indirect analysis (Tables of chemical composition of foodstuffs), and by direct analysis in the laboratory. Two samples of each meal were taken, one consisting of raw unprocessed food and the other of prepared processed food. The following parameters were evaluated: weight, dry matter, humidity, proteins, lipids, fibers ashes, carbohydrates, calcium, iron and phosphorus. The results suggest that both the composition tables presented a weak correlation for calcium and phosphorus. Comparing processed with unprocessed meals, there was an increase in weight and humidity, and a considerable variation in protein, ash, iron and phosphorus, suggesting interference of the culinary process. The Food Composition Tables present limited reliability for the estimation of most nutrients in collective, prepared meals.