GDAs in Europe

The information on this page is historical. Food labels are changing and the term Guideline Daily Amount is being replaced by Reference Intake (RI). Read about the new nutrition labelling requirements.

In December 2011 the new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on Food information to consumers came into force allowing for the continuation of use of percentage of guideline daily amounts (GDAs) per portion indications on a voluntary basis on both front and back of pack. The new regulation also introduces EU Reference Intake values (GDAs) for energy, total fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt. When displayed on the front-of-pack, %GDAs can only be given for either energy alone or energy together with the amounts of fat, saturates, sugars and salt.

The new rules on nutrition labelling will become compulsory by December 2014 for companies already displaying nutrition information or by December 2016 if currently not displaying nutrition information.

Background Information: European legislation impacting GDAs

In June 2006, the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries (now FoodDrinkEurope) introduced an EU set of GDAs based on Eurodiet recommendations (pdf, 172kb). The Eurodiet project, funded by the European Commission, provided a framework for national food-based dietary targets and an action plan for the development of European dietary guidelines.

In 2007 the European Commission published the white paper (pdf, 46kb) on a Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related health issues, which stressed the need for consumers to have access to clear, consistent and evidence-based information. In this paper the Commission highlighted that nutrition labelling is an important tool to inform consumers about the composition of the foods and help them make an informed choice.

In its consumer policy strategy 2007-2013 the Commission underlined that allowing consumers to make informed choices was essential both to effective competition and consumer welfare. As a result, on 30 January 2008 the European Commission published its proposal for a regulation on Food Information to Consumers (pdf, 312kb).

In November 2012 the new Regulation on Food Information to Consumers was published in the Official Journal of the EU.


Last reviewed: 28 Jan 2014