The remaining differences were attributed to differences between the 1968 and 1989 RDAs (FDA, 1993c). The final regulations did change the name of the US RDAs to RDIs for vitamins and minerals and established DRVs for sodium, potassium, and macronutrients. Once the moratorium was no longer in effect, FDA proposed RDIs for nutrients that had not been included in the 1968 RDAs but were in the 1989 edition (FDA, 1994). This led to final regulations in 1995 that established RDIs for vitamin K, selenium, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, and chloride (FDA, 1995). (See Appendix Table C-9 for the list of reference values.)

With regard to the use and representation of a unified reference value for nutrition labeling, FDA explained that a unified reference value on the label was in response to the directive in the legislation that the information be conveyed to the public in a manner that enabled the public “to readily observe such information and comprehend its relative significance in the context of a total daily diet” (FDA, 1993a).

The preamble to the 1993 regulations explained that FDA had also conducted focus group research with adults (Lewis and Yetley, 1992), called for additional suggestions, and reviewed new consumer research and comments regarding a term for the overall label reference value. FDA had earlier proposed using DVs, and it decided to retain the term and to use the percent DV (% DV) as the best representation for consumers: “FDA has carefully considered the arguments regarding percent displays but finds no basis not to conclude that consumers will be able to use percent DV declarations more effectively than they would any other format tested” (FDA, 1993a). Health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims were also addressed in implementing the NLEA regulations.

Current Status of Nutrition Labeling

FDA and FSIS have regulatory oversight for ensuring that food labeling in the United States is accurate and not misleading. Each agency has responsibility for the labeling of different food products in the food supply. FDA has jurisdiction over all food except that which contains 2 percent or more cooked or 3 percent or more raw meat (i.e., from livestock-cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and equine) or poultry (i.e., from domestic birds: chicken, turkey, ducks, geese, guineas, ratites, and squabs), and processed egg products, all of which are under the jurisdiction of FSIS. Although the products they regulate are subject to different laws, these agencies have coordinated their approach to nutrition labeling in order to maintain consistency.

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