The Salt Institute reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to enact voluntary sodium reduction targets on food producers. This comes in the form of a two-year and a 10-year target . The Institute wants to make sure all of its members have the most up to date and correct information in regards to these efforts and its response.
There is a 90-day comment period for the two-year targets that ends on August 31 and a 180-day comment period that ends on October 31 for the 10-year target. Only after this point can the policy become official. The Salt Institute is encouraging all of its members and their affiliates to post comments in opposition to the FDA’s action online.
In the past, FDA has resisted calls to implement sodium reduction limits in this way since the Dietary Guidelines, produced by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), already recommend a maximum 2,300 Mg/day of sodium. All recipients of federal nutrition funds, including school nutrition programs, are under intense pressure to try and meet these recommendations. They also affect food labels on all sorts of products.
This most recent effort, however, is unprecedented and seeks to impose ‘voluntary’ sodium reduction targets directly on processed food producers. This action by FDA is tantamount to malpractice and inexcusable in the face of years of scientific evidence showing that population-wide sodium reduction strategies are unnecessary and could be harmful. This effort will limit the food choices of Americans, not increase them as FDA claims. It will make our food less safe and endanger public health.
The FDA’s Dietary Guidelines Committee has repeatedly ignored a loud chorus of researchers who advise that population-wide sodium reduction is unnecessary and/or potentially harmful (full statement). The Salt Institute has taken a leading role against FDA efforts through highlighting research against sodium reduction, testifying before various FDA and other government panels, and submitting a letter to these agencies detailing their violation of law and regulation.
What does this action mean for America’s food companies?
Food producers will be under intense public pressure to abide by FDA sodium reduction efforts, even if they are voluntary. This will entail millions in costs to reformulate products so that they remain appealing to consumers. Sodium cannot be safely or effectively reduced for some products without altering their taste, texture or food safety.
The Institute continues to work diligently on behalf of its members to educate the public and policy makers on the dangers of population wide sodium reduction. Please feel free to visit its website for more information on the latest research and efforts.