The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association, welcomed news of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed rule, “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.”
In particular, CRN praised the agency for re-enforcing the continued use of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) as the basis for determining the Daily Value (DV) for nutrients. “CRN applauds FDA for keeping the RDA as its standard for DVs on food labels. At a time when we know of significant nutrient shortfalls in the typical American diet, it would have been a mistake to water down nutritional requirements so that at most only half the population would be covered,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.
The RDA is the daily dietary intake level of a nutrient considered sufficient by the Food and Nutrition Board to meet the requirements of 97.5 percent of healthy individuals in each life-stage and sex group. It is calculated based on the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR), and is usually approximately 20 percent higher than the EAR. The EAR is expected to satisfy the needs of only 50 percent of the people in that age group based on a review of the scientific literature.
Despite recent concerns raised in the press by some that Americans are in danger of “overnutrifying,” the agency advised that’s not the case. FDA did a thorough review of available data and concluded that “…total nutrient intakes (from both conventional foods and dietary supplements)…do not exceed the [Tolerable Upper Levels] for most vitamins and minerals.”
“In fact,” said Dr. Wong, “the data show that consumers are not even meeting the EAR for a number of nutrients. We still do urge people, however, to be aware of their total nutrient intake from foods, fortified foods and supplements. But FDA’s analysis should help put to rest those critics using overnutrification as a way to dismiss supplementation.”
In addition, CRN commended FDA for calling out potassium and vitamin D as “nutrients of public health significance,” because, according to the agency, some segments of the U.S. population are not consuming adequate amounts, putting them at higher risk for chronic disease.
Dr. Wong noted that FDA is also planning to revise specific DVs, like those for calcium and vitamin D, to reflect the updated science. “This is the appropriate thing to do,” said Dr. Wong. “CRN commends FDA on its science-based proposal to update food labeling requirements. We believe consumers will be well-served by the changes that will affect the dietary supplement industry.”