EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) has today launched a public consultation on its draft general principles for establishing Dietary Reference Values. EFSA is consulting on its draft opinion in order to ensure that the Panel takes into account all available data and benefits from the experience of public health bodies in the European Union (EU) and worldwide in setting Dietary Reference Values for the different nutrients. The main objective of nutrition recommendations is to ensure a diet that provides energy and nutrients for optimal growth, development, function and health during the whole life. EFSA is currently establishing EU Dietary Reference Values (formerly referred to as Population Reference Intakes or sometimes called Recommended Daily Allowances) for energy, macro- and micronutrients. EFSA has been asked by the European Commission to review and if necessary to update the earlier recommendations of the Scientific Committee for Food in order to ensure that Community action in the area of nutrition is underpinned by the latest scientific advice. EFSA will establish the new Dietary Reference Values in stages. Work will begin first on energy, water and macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) which are expected to be completed by 2009. Work on micronutrients, which are nutrients that the body needs in small quantities, such as iron, zinc and selenium, will start in mid-2009. All draft opinions on dietary reference values will be subject to public consultation before their finalisation in line with EFSA’s policy on openness and transparency. To ensure a consistent approach the Panel has elaborated a draft opinion on the principles for establishing Dietary Reference Values. Dietary Reference Values include the complete set of nutrient recommendations and reference values such as the average requirement, the adequate intake level and the lower threshold intake. The open consultation launched today aims to gather any additional scientific evidence which could contribute to this work. In addition, the Panel is also launching a consultation on Dietary Reference Values for Water. Although notspecifically requested by the European Commission, the NDA Panel decided to include water because adequate hydration of the body is essential for ensuring nutritional balance. The public consultation will be open until 15 December 2008.