News

U.S. FDA spells out lower sodium goals for food industry

U.S. FDA spells out lower sodium goals for food industry
Health
NEW YORK -- Food companies are coming under renewed pressure to use less salt after U.S. regulators spelled out long-awaited guidelines aimed at reducing sodium levels in dozens of foods including condiments, cereals, french fries and potato chips.

The voluntary goals finalized Wednesday for 163 foods are intended to help lower the amount of salt people eat. A majority of the sodium in U.S. diets comes from packaged or restaurant foods -- not the salt added to meals at home -- making it hard for people to make changes on their own.

To get people used to eating less salt, the Food and Drug Administration said reductions have to be gradual and across the entire food supply so people don t keep reaching for higher sodium options.

"By putting out the targets, that really helps to level the playing field across the industry," said Susan Mayne, director of the FDA s food safety and nutrition division.

Over the next 2.5 years, the FDA s target sodium levels aim to cut average intake by 12% -- from 3,400 to 3,000 milligrams a day. That would still leave average intake above the federally recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams a day for people 14 and older. But the agency says it will monitor industry progress and keep issuing updated targets to bring levels closer to the recommended limit over time.

The FDA said it took into consideration industry feedback after issuing its draft guidance in 2016. Ketchup, mustard and hot sauce, for example, were split up and now have different targets. Another difference: The final guidance does not spell out a time frame for reaching longer-term targets.

"It s a huge disappointment that the 10-year goal didn t come out at the same time," said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts University s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Whether the targets are effective in pushing the industry to lower sodium levels will hinge on how the FDA monitors progress and publicly communicates about it, Mozaffarian said.

In a statement, the National Restaurant Association said it provided feedback to the FDA s draft guidance and that its member companies continue to provide options that address customer demand.

The American Frozen Food Institute said member companies have already been offering lower sodium options to meet consumer demand.

Even though the guidance is voluntary, companies might feel pressure to make changes to avoid stricter regulatory action, said Dr. Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has called for mandatory sodium standards.

"If it turns out that the impact is not what we would hope, I think it s back to the drawing board, and mandatory cuts are on the table," he said.
Read more on CTVnews
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Science
Most people in the U.S. consume too much salt; adult Americans typically eat twice the daily amount recommended by dietary guidelines. Bread may not seem like an obvious culprit; however,...
Health
People who ate the most fried food per week had a 37 per cent heightened risk of heart failure, a new analysis of existing research found. Shutterstock / CNN SHARE...
Business
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods found success with realistic plant based burgers. Now, they re hoping to replicate that in the fast growing but crowded market for plant based chicken nuggets. Beyond Meat...
Science
Cutting 20 of sugar from packaged foods and 40 from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests , 490, 000 cardiovascular deaths, and 750, 000...
Top Stories
Miquel Roberts feeds her eight month old daughter Sophie homemade baby food at the family s Mississauga, Ontario home on Aug. 27, 2005. Derek Oliver / AP Share WASHINGTON...