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New guidelines for vitamin-mineral supplements threaten public health.

Over a year ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed to establish a new label reference standard for vitamins and minerals, to be called the RDI (Reference Daily Intake). Despite many comments opposing the RDI, FDA is expected to repropose this concept as part of its mandatory nutrition labeling regulations.

The RDI is lower than the U.S. RDA, for most nutrients. (The U.S. RDA is the current labeling standard for vitamins and minerals.) The accompanying chart depicts the amount of the decrease for 10 vitamins and four minerals.

In comments to FDA, Dr. Jean Mayer of Tufts University called the RDI concept "an extraordinarily bad idea." Numerous other nutrition and medical professionals also strongly opposed the RDI. Attached are excerpts of critics' comments to FDA.

"The shift to the RDI lacks sufficient scientific rationale and represents a detrimental step backward in nutrition education," according to J.B. Cordaro, President of the Council for Repsonsible Nutrition. "It misleads consumers by setting vitamin and mineral targets which are in fact below the recommended intakes for large segments of the population. It flies in the face of emerging science, which shows that people should be consuming more, not less, of many nutrients, in order to protect health and prevent disease. And it reduces or eliminates the safety net for critical risk groups, including the poor and the elderly."

"It is unconscionable for FDA to persist in putting forward the RDI concept, in the face of the strong opposition already expressed by leaders in the nutrition community, by interest groups such as the AARP, and by consumer groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest," said Cordaro. "The RDA's have served well for almost 20 years, a great deal for nutrition education has gone into helping people use them, and there is no evidence of any need for revising them."
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Nutrition in the 21st century.
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