European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists organised a special meeting with nutrition experts from Member States to exchange views on draft opinions published in the area of Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) covering fats, carbohydrates, fibres and water as well as Food-Based Dietary Guidelines.
The meeting, held on 7-8 September 2009 in Barcelona, was an opportunity to discuss with Member States the issues surrounding the draft opinions, to brief the national experts about the comments received during the consultation period and to clarify EFSA’s scientific role in determining the DRVs.
Professor Albert Flynn, Chair of EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) said: “Following a successful public consultation, a further valuable contribution was received from national experts that enables EFSA to finalise its draft opinions on DRVs.”
The Barcelona meeting also addressed EFSA’s continuing work on DRVs and any possible cooperation with Member States on the remaining assessment of DRVs for micronutrients. EFSA expressed interest in receiving the most recent scientific data available at national level, necessary for finalisation of the scientific opinions.
Why EFSA is carrying out this work?
Scientific advice on nutrient intakes is an important basis for Community action in the field of nutrition; for example in the past such advice has been used in defining reference values for nutrition labelling.
The European Commission asked EFSA to review and update the last report on recommended nutrient and energy intakes for the EU population published in 1993 prepared by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) . In doing so, the NDA Panel is taking into account new scientific evidence and more recent national intake data and recommendations.
With these opinions on fats and carbohydrates, EFSA delivers the first part of its work related to macronutrients. The second part on micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is due in 2010. EFSA also consulted on the General principles for setting DRVs, on DRVs for water, and on the Guidance for developing food-based dietary guidelines in 2008.
What are Dietary Reference Values (DRVs)?
A balanced diet is one that provides adequate amounts of energy and nutrients for health and well-being. DRVs are the complete set of nutrient recommendations and reference values, such as population reference intakes, the average requirement, adequate intake level and the lower threshold intake.
They are used for the assessment and planning of diets both at the population and individual level, as well as a basis for reference values in food labelling.
DRVs are also used for establishing food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG), which translate nutritional recommendations into messages about foods and diet. FBDG can guide consumers on what to eat and help them make healthy dietary choices.