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So some cheese products I buy have nutritional information on the outside that say things like "Good source of Calcium", or "Excellent source of Calcium", or "Great source of Calcium".

Are these just buzzwords, or is there a standard for these words (ie, Excellent = ^20% calcium, Great = ^10% Calcium, Good = ^5% Calcium)?

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From Googling Nutritional Claims Excellent:

YES! These terms are highly regulated in the United States.

In the US, the FDA sets the following standards for food products:

  • "High," "Rich In," or "Excellent Source Of" - Contains 20% or more of the DV per RACC. May be used on meals or main dishes to indicate that the product contains a food that meets the definition, but may not be used to describe the meal.
  • "Good Source," "Contains," or "Provides" - 10%-19% of the DV per RACC. These terms may be used on meals or main dishes to indicate that the product contains a food that meets the definition but may not be used to describe the meal.
  • "More," "Fortified," "Enriched," "Added," "Extra," or "Plus" - 10% or more of the DV per RACC than an appropriate reference food. May only be used for vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber, and potassium.

Note: DV = Daily Value, RACC = Reference Amount Customarily Consumed

This is a really helpful page!

  • DVs are mostly derived directly from RDAs, which vary by age and gender. RDAs are calculated to be sufficient intake for 97-98% of people who fall within the specified age and gender group. For most vitamins and minerals, the DVs exceed the standard RDAs, so they should also be adequate for at least 97-98% of the population in most cases. – Athanasius Feb 9 '15 at 2:09
  • I think the discussion here is pretty well settled: there is variability in individual dietary needs, and those numbers are calibrated for "most" people. If you happen to know that for some reason you need twice that much iron, compensate accordingly. Plenty of extra discussion ensued largely because of fake examples with kind of nonsensical numbers and imprecise/changing language; I've cleaned it all up. – Cascabel Mar 23 '15 at 22:27

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