several reasons. First, the use of a population average was thought to more appropriately meet the stated purpose of the RDIs, which was to serve as a general nutrition labeling reference value. Second, it seemed logical not to use maximum values as the basis for reference values given the decreasing public health concern with nutritional deficiencies. Third, FDA hoped that the selection of lower reference values would foster more prudent fortification and formulation of food consistent with its fortification policy (FDA, 1990b).
FDA also suggested that the reference values should be listed under a single new term and proposed “Daily Value” (DV) for two reasons: (1) consistency with the NLEA direction that information in nutrition labeling be presented in a manner that enabled consumers to understand the significance of the information presented in the context of a total daily diet, and (2) consumer research on the DV that indicated that the term was interpreted correctly (FDA, 1991).
Although there was support for continued use of the RDAs as the basis for reference values, use of the population-adjusted mean met with resistance. The most frequently expressed concern about the approach was that it resulted in a value that was too low for at least half of the population and as such would lead to suboptimal nutrient intakes. The concern was partly expressed by passage of the Dietary Supplement Act of 1992 (DSA) (P.L. 102-571) that established a 1-year moratorium on implementation of NLEA with regard to dietary supplements and prohibited until November 1993 any nutrition labeling regulations that used recommended daily allowances or intake values for vitamins and minerals other than those currently in effect (Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels, 1997). It also prohibited FDA from promulgating regulations based on the RDAs any earlier than November 1993 (other than those specified in 21 C.F.R. 101.9 (c) (7) (iv), i.e., the US RDAs) and prohibited implementation of NLEA for dietary supplements earlier than December 15, 1993 (21 U.S.C. §301).
In January 1993 FDA published its final regulations on nutrition labeling for conventional food. Because of the moratorium in the DSA, the regulations retained the use of the highest value approach and the 1968 RDAs as nutrient reference values for vitamins and minerals for the age categories proposed (FDA, 1993c). In the preamble to the regulations, FDA indicated that it had planned to return to the population-coverage approach, acknowledging that the proposed approach lowered reference values for vitamins and minerals by an average of about 14 percent compared with those that would have been derived using the population-adjusted mean.