Policy Research for Front of Package Nutrition Labeling: Developing and Testing a Summary System Algorithm. B: Examples of Calculating Scores Using the Three Proposed Options for Algorithms


This appendix provides examples of how to use each of the three proposed algorithms with one food item, 1% milk. The nutrient values for 1% milk were obtained from USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (food code 11112210).

Option 1

This example uses a nutrient density algorithm, the Nutrient Rich Foods Index (described in Appendix A).

An example of calculating the score for 1% milk:

Nutrients Nutrient Amounts per
100 kcal of 1% Milk
Divide by Reference
Positive nutrients:
8.1g 50g 0.16
Fiber 0g 25g 0
Vitamin A 463 IU 5,000 IU 0.09
Vitamin C 0 mg 60 mg 0
Vitamin E 0 IU 30 IU 0
Calcium 305 mg 1,000 mg 0.31
Iron 0.07 mg 18 mg 0
Magnesium 26 mg 400 mg 0.07
Potassium 359 mg 3,500 mg 0.10
Total positive points: 0.73
Negative nutrients:
Saturated fat
1.5g 20g 0.08
Added sugars 0g 50g 0
Sodium 107 mg 2,400 mg 0.04
Total negative points: 0.12

The total score is calculated as positive (0.73) − negative (0.12) * 100 = 61.

Option 2

This example uses the FSA Ofcam model (described in Appendix A).

An example of calculating the score for 1% milk:

Nutrients/Components Nutrient Amounts per
200g of 1%Milk
"A" nutrients (negatives):
84 kcal 1
Saturated fat 1.3g 1
Total sugar 10.4g 2
Sodium 88 mg 0
Total "A" points: 4
"C" nutrients (positives):
Fruit, vegetables, and nuts
0% 0
Fiber 0g 0
Protein 6.7g 4
Total "C" points: 4

The total score is calculated as
"A" points (4) − "C" points (4) = 0.

The total score is <1 point, 1% milk is classified as "healthy."

Option 3

This example uses a threshold type system, the FDA criteria for health claims. A food must meet all of the criteria for the negative nutrients, and 10% or more of daily reference value for at least one of the positive nutrients.

Using the example of 1% milk and the FDA criteria:

Nutrients Nutrient Amounts per
RACC Serving of 1%
Criteria Meets Criteria
Negative nutrients:
2.4g <13g Yes
Saturated fat 1.5g <4g Yes
Cholesterol 8 mg <60 mg Yes
Sodium 107 mg <480 mg Yes
Positive nutrients:
Vitamin A
473 IU (includes fortification) ≥500 IU No
Vitamin C 0 mg ≥6 mg No
Iron 0.07 mg ≥1.8 mg No
Calcium 305 mg ≥100 mg Yes
Protein 8.2 mg ≥5 mg Yes
Fiber 0g ≥2.5g No

1% milk meets all of the criteria for negative nutrients and at least one of the criteria for the positive nutrients.