In the U.S. and Canada, the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is used in nutrition labeling on food and dietary supplement products to indicate the daily intake level of a nutrient that is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97–98% of healthy individuals in every demographic in the United States. While developed for the US population, it has been adopted by other countries, such as Canada.[1]

The RDI is used to determine the Daily Value (DV) of foods, which is printed on nutrition facts labels (as %DV) in the United States and Canada, and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by Health Canada, respectively. The labels "high", "rich in", or "excellent source of" may be used for a food if it contains 20% or more of the DV.[2] The labels "good source", "contains", or "provides" may be used on a food if it contains between 10% and 20% of the DV,[3] and "low source" applies if the %DV is 5% or lower.[2]

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) were a set of nutrition recommendations that evolved into both the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) system of nutrition recommendations (which still defines RDA values) and the RDIs used for food labeling. The first regulations governing U.S. nutrition labels specified a % U.S. RDA declaration based on the current RDA values, which had been published in 1968. Later, the % U.S. RDA was renamed the %DV and the RDA values that the %DVs were based on became the RDIs.

The RDAs (and later the RDA values within the DRI) were regularly revised to reflect the latest scientific information, but although the nutrition labeling regulations were occasionally updated, the existing RDI values were not changed, so that until 2016, many of the DVs used on nutrition facts labels were still based on the outdated RDAs from 1968. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration published changes to the regulations including updated RDIs and DVs based primarily on the RDAs in the current DRI.[4]

Food labeling reference tables

The reference dietary intake (RDI) gives numbers based on gender and age. The Daily Value (DV) is put on the labels of food products and is meant for the general population.[2]

Daily Values

The FDA issued a final rule on changes to the facts panel on May 27, 2016.[5] The new values were published in the Federal Register.[6] The original deadline to be in compliance was July 28, 2018, but on May 4, 2018, the FDA released a final rule that extended the deadline to January 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales, and by January 1, 2021, for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales.[7][8][9] During the first six months following the January 1, 2020 compliance date, the FDA worked cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements, and did not focus on enforcement actions regarding these requirements during that time.[7]

Labeling requirements

As of 2024, the FDA requires manufacturers to display the contents and %DVs of certain nutrients on packaged food or supplement labels, with the instruction:[2]

The Nutrition Facts label must list total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, total sugars, added sugars, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals. While the actual amount and %DV of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium must be listed, other vitamins and minerals may be listed voluntarily by the manufacturer.

However, they are required to list any vitamins and minerals that are added to the food or if a statement is made on the package labeling about their health effects or the amount contained in the food (for example, "high" or "low").

Similarly, the Supplement Facts label is required to list the same nutrients as the Nutrition Facts label when any of these nutrients are found in the supplement in an amount considered to be greater than zero.

The following table lists the DVs based on a caloric intake of 2000 kcal (8400 kJ), for adults and children four or more years of age, as of 2024.[2][10]

Nutrient DV[2]
Total fat 78 g
Saturated fatty acids 20 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2300 mg
Potassium 4700 mg
Total carbohydrate 275 g
Added sugars 50 g
Dietary fiber 28 g[a]
Protein 50 g[b]

Vitamins and choline

Micronutrient DV
Vitamin A 900 μg
Vitamin C 90 mg
Vitamin D 20 μg
Vitamin E 15 mg alpha-tocopherol
Vitamin K 120 μg
Thiamin 1.2 mg
Riboflavin 1.3 mg
Niacin 16 mg
Pantothenic acid 5 mg
Vitamin B6 1.7 mg
Vitamin B12 2.4 μg
Biotin 30 μg
Folate 400 μg
Choline 550 mg


Micronutrient DV
Calcium 1300 mg
Chromium 35 μg
Copper 0.9 mg
Iodine 150 μg
Iron 18 mg
Magnesium 420 mg
Manganese 2.3 mg
Molybdenum 45 μg
Phosphorus 1250 mg
Selenium 55 μg
Zinc 11 mg
Potassium 4700 mg
Sodium 2300 mg
Chloride 2300 mg


Dietary Reference Intakes

The RDI is derived from the RDAs, which were first developed during World War II by Lydia J. Roberts, Hazel Stiebeling and Helen S. Mitchell, all part of a committee established by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to investigate issues of nutrition that might "affect national defense" (Nestle, p 35). The committee was renamed the Food and Nutrition Board in 1941, after which they began to deliberate on a set of recommendations of a standard daily allowance for each type of nutrient. The standards would be used for nutrition recommendations for the armed forces, for civilians, and for overseas population who might need food relief. Roberts, Stiebeling, and Mitchell surveyed all available data, created a tentative set of allowances for "energy and eight nutrients", and submitted them to experts for review (Nestle, p 35). The final set of guidelines, called RDAs for Recommended Dietary Allowances, were accepted in 1941. The allowances were meant to provide superior nutrition for civilians and military personnel, so they included a "margin of safety". Because of food rationing during the war, the food guides created by government agencies to direct citizens' nutritional intake also took food availability into account.[citation needed]

The Food and Nutrition Board subsequently revised the RDAs every five to ten years. In 1973, the FDA introduced regulations to specify the format of nutrition labels when present, although the inclusion of such labels was largely voluntary, only being required if nutrition claims were made or if nutritional supplements were added to the food. The nutrition labels were to include percent U.S. RDA based on the 1968 RDAs in effect at the time. The RDAs continued to be updated (in 1974, 1980 and 1989) but the values specified for nutrition labeling remained unchanged.[11]

In 1993 the FDA published new regulations mandating the inclusion of a nutrition facts label on most packaged foods. Originally the FDA had proposed replacing the percent U.S. RDAs with percent daily values based on the 1989 RDAs but the Dietary Supplement Act of 1992 prevented it from doing so. Instead it introduced the RDI to be the basis of the new daily values. The RDI consisted of the existing U.S. RDA values (still based on the 1968 RDAs as the FDA was not allowed to change them at the time) and new values for additional nutrients not included in the 1968 RDAs.[11]

In 1997, at the suggestion of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy, the RDAs became one part of a broader set of dietary guidelines called the Dietary Reference Intake used by both the United States and Canada. As part of the DRI, the RDAs continued to be updated.

On May 27, 2016, the FDA updated the regulations to change the RDI and Daily Values to reflect current scientific information.[5][6] Until this time, the Daily Values were still largely based on the 1968 RDAs. The new regulations make several other changes to the nutrition facts label to facilitate consumer understanding of the calorie and nutrient contents of their foods, emphasizing nutrients of current concern, such as vitamin D and potassium.[5] The revision to the regulations came into effect on 26 July 2016 and initially stipulated that larger manufacturers must comply within two years while smaller manufacturers had an additional year.[5][11][12] On May 4, 2018, the FDA released a final rule that extended the deadline to January 1, 2020, for large companies and to January 1, 2021, for small companies.[9] During the first six months following the January 1, 2020 compliance date, the FDA worked cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements, and did not focus on enforcement actions regarding these requirements during that time.[7]

Sodium and potassium

In 2010, the U.S. Institute of Medicine determined that the government should establish new consumption standards for salt to reduce the amount of sodium in the typical American diet below levels associated with higher risk of several cardiovascular diseases, yet maintain consumer preferences for salt-flavored food.[13] In 1999, the average American adult ingested nearly 4,000 mg of sodium daily, far above the National Research Council recommendation that the general U.S. population consume no more than 2,400 mg of sodium (or 6 grams of salt) per day.[14] For instance, the National Research Council found that 500 milligrams of sodium per day (approximately 1,250 milligrams of table salt) is a safe minimum level.[15] In the United Kingdom, the daily allowance for salt is 6 g (approximately 2.5 teaspoons, about the upper limit in the U.S.), an amount considered "too high".[16][17]

The Institute of Medicine advisory stated (daily intake basis): "Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium – the amount in about 1.5 teaspoons of salt (8.7 g) – each day. The recommended maximum daily intake of sodium – the amount above which health problems appear – is 2,300 milligrams per day for adults, about 1 teaspoon of salt (5.9 g). The recommended adequate intake of sodium is 1,500 milligrams (3.9 g salt) per day, and people over 50 need even less."[13]

The Daily Value for potassium, 4,700 mg per day, was based on a study of men who were given 14.6 g of sodium chloride per day and treated with potassium supplements until the frequency of salt sensitivity was reduced to 20%.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ based on 14 g/1000 Calories and a 2,000-Calorie diet
  2. ^ based on 10% of a 2,000-Calorie diet


  1. ^ "Nutrition labelling – Table of daily values". Health Canada, Government of Canada. October 20, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". US Food and Drug Administration. March 5, 2024. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  3. ^ "Nutrient content claims for 'good source', 'high', 'more', and 'high potency', Specific Requirements for Nutrient Content Claims. Food Labeling, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Chapter I, Subchapter B, Part 101, Subpart D, Section 101.54". Food and Drug Administration. April 1, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Major Changes Coming to Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Labels Near You | Insights | Venable LLP". Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label". FDA Labeling and Nutrition. United States Food and Drug Administration. May 20, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Federal Register May 27, 2016 Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b c "FDA provides information about dual columns on Nutrition Facts label". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). December 30, 2019. Retrieved May 16, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ "Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). May 27, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ a b "Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels and Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments; Extension of Compliance Dates". Federal Register. May 4, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ "Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application : Health and Medicine Division". Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Institute of Medicine (2010). "2 History of Nutrition Labeling". Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase I Report. The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/12957. ISBN 978-0-309-15827-5. PMID 24983042.
  12. ^ "Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Federal Register. May 27, 2016. 81 FR 33741.
  13. ^ a b "FDA should set standards for salt added to processed foods, prepared meals". U.S. National Academies of Science. April 20, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  14. ^ "Statement from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program". National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. October 14, 1999. Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  15. ^ Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 1989. doi:10.17226/1349. ISBN 978-0-309-04633-6. PMID 25144070. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "Daily salt intake allowances 'were set too high'". BBC News. November 25, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  17. ^ "Britons told to cut salt intake". BBC News. September 13, 2004. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  18. ^ Malik, Vasanti S; Willett, Walter C; Hu, Frank B (August 9, 2016). "Revised Nutrition Facts Panel: A Step Forward and More Room for Improvement". JAMA. 316 (6): 583–584. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8005. PMC 5287493. PMID 27272093.
  19. ^ Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press. 2005. doi:10.17226/10925. ISBN 978-0-309-09169-5. Retrieved June 1, 2021.