Nutrient Reference Values

The 2006 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand are a set of recommended nutrient intakes used to assess dietary requirements of individuals and provide health-based guidance values for population groups in Australia and New Zealand.

Page last updated: 29 May 2018

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 population groups.

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.

Review of the 2006 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand

In 2011, the Department of Health in consultation with the New Zealand Ministry of Health (NZ MoH), 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 considered developments in comparable countries, expert opinions, stakeholder consultation and public submissions and concluded there was sufficient justification for conducting a review. The scoping study also identified the rationale and triggers for reviewing specific nutrients including changes or developments to NRVs in comparable OECD countries, emergence of new evidence, impact on public health priorities and/or concerns regarding the strength of the underlying methodology or evidence. Fluoride, iodine and sodium were identified in the scoping study as priority nutrients for review.

Methodological Framework

In 2013, the Nous Group was contracted to develop the Methodological framework for the review of NRVs (the Framework) to outline the overarching principles, methodologies, and approaches to ensure consistency of application and transparency in the NRV reviews across all nutrients. 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.

In order to test the Framework, some of the reference values for fluoride, sodium and iodine are being reviewed. A full review of these nutrients will be considered in the future.

Review of fluoride, sodium and iodine nutrient reference values

The review of the fluoride NRVs for the Adequate Intake (AI) and the Upper Level of Intake (UL) for infants and young children is now complete with these NRVs being approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on 21 November 2016. These were published in March 2017.

The review of the sodium UL and Suggested Dietary Target (SDT) for adults was approved by the NHMRC on 13 July 2017. These were published in September 2017.

In March 2018, the Australian Government Department of Health commissioned the NHMRC to continue the priority driven review of nutrients. This includes reviewing the evidence and updating the remaining fluoride and sodium NRVs not reviewed in 2016 and 2017; the iodine NRVs and all adequate intake NRVs for infants. These reviews will be undertaken using a phased approach over three years, commencing with sodium and iodine in 2018.

Further information on the Framework, the revised NRVs for fluoride and sodium and the review process can be found at the Nutrient Reference Values website and the NHMRC website.

Governance

The review is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The review will be overseen by a Steering Group Advisory Committee comprising of representatives from each government organisation who oversees the funding and strategic decisions of the review, together with subject matter experts from Australia and New Zealand. Nutrient specific Expert Working Groups will also be engaged to advise on the review of each nutrient, comprising members with a broad range of expertise including in micronutrients, toxicology, nutrition risk assessment, public health, end user needs, research, chronic disease and nutrition.