Nutrient Reference Values

The 2006 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand are designed to assist nutrition and health professionals assess the dietary requirements of individuals and groups.

Page last updated: 29 October 2015

They may also be used by public health nutritionists, food legislators and the food industry for dietary modelling and/or food labelling and food formulation.

To ensure that nutrient reference values (NRVs) remain relevant, appropriate and useful, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend that the NRVs be reviewed every five years.

Review Process

In 2011, the Department of Health in consultation with the New Zealand Ministry of Health (NZMoH), commissioned a study to investigate the validity, and scope for undertaking a review of the 2006 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. The scoping study advised that future reviews should be targeted, and that nutrients assessed as high priority should be reviewed immediately, with other nutrients to be reviewed on a rolling basis as time and funding permits.

The review is a joint project between the Department of Health and the NZMoH, and is being overseen by a Steering Group. The Steering Group is comprised of two members of each government and makes decisions relating to the strategic, technical and funding elements of the project.

An Advisory Committee that includes technical expertise in the areas of micronutrients, toxicology, public health, end user needs, research, chronic disease, and nutrition was established to provide advice to the Steering Group on nutrient priorities for review. The Advisory Committee also provides advice on appointments to Expert Working Groups, and considers the technical aspects of the reviews of the nutrient reference values.

The nutrient reference value reviews will undergo a period of public consultation and expert review. The review will comply with NHMRC standards and guidelines and the final reports will be submitted to the NHMRC for endorsement.

Methodological Framework

The 2011 scoping study proposed that the new review begin with the development of a methodological framework (the Framework) that outlines the overarching principles, methodologies, and approaches to ensure consistency of application and transparency in the reviews across all nutrients.

In 2013, the Nous Group was contracted to develop the Framework. The Framework was developed through multiple rounds of consultations with technical experts and relevant stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand.

The Framework is designed for application across a range of nutrients and provides high level guidance that should not be impacted by characteristics unique to specific nutrients.

First three nutrient reference value reviews

The Steering Group, with advice from the Advisory Committee determined that fluoride, iodine and sodium are priority nutrients and were the first to be reviewed.

The application of the Framework is being tested by reviewing only some of the reference values for the three nutrients. A full review of all reference values for these nutrients will be considered in the future.

Draft reports of the nutrient reference value reviews were submitted to the Steering Group in mid-2015 and were considered and approved for public consultation by both the Steering Group and Advisory Committee.

The reports are now available for comment via an online public consultation portal at https://consultations.health.gov.au. The consultation closes on 11 December 2015.

Following public consultation, the reports may be amended. The reports will then be submitted to the NHMRC for endorsement.

NRV's Advisory Committee Membership

NRV's Fluoride Expert Working Group Membership

NRV's Iodine Expert Working Group Membership

NRV's Sodium Expert Working Group Membership