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: 10 March 2017

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.

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 approval of the guideline recommendations be reviewed for currency after five years.

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 endorsed by the Council of the NHMRC on 3 November 2016.

Further information on the Framework, the revised fluoride NRVs and the review process can be found at www.nrv.gov.au and www.nhmrc.gov.au.

Governance

The review is funded by the Department of Health and the New Zealand Ministry of Health. A Steering Group comprising of representatives from each government organisation oversees the funding and strategic decisions of the review.

An Advisory Committee 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 provide technical expert advice and act as an independent moderator of the nutrient recommendations.

The Expert Working Groups are primarily responsible for undertaking the review by examining the scientific evidence.

Further information on the Advisory Committee and Expert Working Groups is available via the links below.

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

1.The NHMRC Act 1992 gives the Chief Executive Officer, on the advice of the Council of NHMRC, the power to approve guidelines developed by an external body, in this case, the Australian Department of Health and New Zealand Ministry of Health, provided they meet NHMRC’s guideline standards.