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National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Competitive Foods

On Jan. 6, 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in a final rule that, effective May 8, 1994, the current food label reference values, the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (U.S.RDAs), will be identified as the Reference Daily Intakes, or RDIs. This change is to be one of designation only and the reference values are not being modified. The purpose of this rule is to replace the term ``U.S.RDA'' wherever used in Food and Nutrition Service program regulations with ``RDI''.


The FDA requires that certain food products be labeled with information sufficient to apprise consumers of the nutritional content and value of the products. Food product labels are required to indicate on a per serving basis the percentage contribution of the product to the recommended daily consumption of certain vitamins and minerals considered essential for human nutrition. The amounts of these vitamins and minerals recommended for daily consumption are known as the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances or U.S.RDAs. The U.S.RDAs are derived by FDA from the ``Recommended Daily Allowances,'' published by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC). The Department employs the U.S.RDAs in the National School Lunch, 7 CFR 210.11(b); Appendix B, and School Breakfast, 7 CFR 220.12(b)(1); appendix B, program regulations in describing foods of minimal nutritional value which are prohibited from being sold in school food service areas during regular meal service. The NAS-NRC Recommended Daily Allowances are referenced by the Department in the National School Lunch and Food Stamp Program regulations to describe nutritional goals of the programs.

In part to eliminate the public's confusion from the widespread use of both the U.S.RDAs and the NAS-NRC Recommended Daily Allowances, and in part to reflect recent increases in the scientific knowledge concerning human nutrition requirements, FDA is discontinuing use of the U.S.RDAs as of May 8, 1994. On that date, the U.S.RDAs will be replaced by the Reference Daily Intakes, or RDIs, and the Daily Reference Values or DRVs. RDIs will be used to describe recommended vitamin, mineral and protein consumption and DRVs in discussing fats and carbohydrates. RDI and DRV information will not be used on food product labels. Rather, FDA is adopting a new nutrition labeling reference, known as the Daily Value, which will combine RDI and DRV information and will be required on most packaged food products.

To coincide with FDA's replacement of the U.S.RDAs with RDIs and DRVs, the Department is updating its references to the U.S.RDAs in the regulations it administers. Effective May 8, 1994, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program regulations will be amended by substituting the term RDI in place of U.S.RDA. The Department's current references to the U.S.RDAs involve only vitamin and mineral content of food products. Therefore, no reference need be made by the Department to the DRVs as that term will refer only to the fats and carbohydrates. References to the NAS-NRC Recommended Daily Allowances in 7 CFR 210.10(b) and 272.5(b) will be unaffected by this regulatory change.

Page updated: April 12, 2022