tions for the 1990s, which included numerous specific recommendations on all aspects of nutrition labeling, including label format and nutrient content (IOM, 1990).
Throughout this period congressional and public concern increased as FDA actions on issues related to emerging new information on the relationship between diet and health lagged behind expectations (Hutt, 1995). Recommendations were made to expand nutrition labeling to include additional macronutrients, to establish clear definitions for widely used nutrient descriptors, and to provide for disease claims in nutrition labeling. In July 1990 FDA published proposed regulations related to mandatory nutrition labeling on packaged food, including a regulation that would establish new nutrient reference values for macronutrients, called Daily Reference Values (DRVs), and for vitamins and minerals, called Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs). The proposed RDIs were based on a population-average approach, that is, the adjusted mean of the RDAs weighted according to age groupings in the United States (FDA, 1990b). The use of reference values as part of nutrition labeling was intended to “assist consumers in interpreting information about the amount of a nutrient present in a food and in comparing the nutritional value of food products” and was part of FDA’s efforts to “respond to changing nutrition information needs of consumers” (FDA, 1990b). In the proposed regulations FDA acknowledged questions about its authority to require nutrition labeling and tentatively concluded that the nutritional content of a food is a material fact and that a food label is misleading if it fails to have nutrition information that would be required under the proposal. On November 18, 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) (21 U.S.C. §343) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush (Hutt, 1995). The passage of NLEA also served to confirm the authority of FDA to require nutrition labeling (FDA, 1991).
The passage of NLEA began the current era of nutrition labeling. NLEA called for all packaged food under FDA’s jurisdiction to bear nutrition labeling. It also covered dietary supplements and included a strict timeline. The proposed regulations were to be released by November 8, 1991, and the final regulations were to be implemented by November 8, 1992 (Hutt, 1995).
As part of the implementation of NLEA, in November 1991 FDA republished the 1990 proposal on RDIs and DRVs (FDA, 1991).