(New York) Pressure builds on food companies to offer less salty products, after U.S. officials release long-awaited guidelines to reduce sodium in dozens of foods, including condiments , cereals, chips and fries.
Posted on October 13, 2021 at 11:53 am
The voluntary targets announced Wednesday for 163 foods aim to reduce the salt consumption of the population. The majority of sodium in Americans’ diets comes from processed foods or restaurant meals – not salt added at home – which limits the changes consumers can make on their own.
To get people used to consuming less salt, the US Food and Drug Administration has said the reductions need to be gradual and across the entire food chain.
Over the next two and a half years, the FDA aims to reduce salt intake by 12% – from 3,400 to 3,300 milligrams per day. Average consumption would still exceed the recommended federal limit of 2,300 milligrams per day for people 14 years and older. The federal agency said it will continue to monitor developments and release new targets to bring salt intake closer to the recommended limit over time.
Voluntary targets, no deadline
Some experts lament that the FDA has set aside a timeline to meet longer-term targets.
“It’s very disappointing that the 10-year goal was not released at the same time,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the School of Nutritional Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Mozaffarian added that some food companies have resisted reducing the salt content in foods, but scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of reduced sodium intake is mounting.
The effectiveness of the targets announced by the FDA will depend on the federal agency’s vigilance and its public statements about it, he said.
Even if these goals are optional, some food companies could decide to comply with them to avoid new and more restrictive mandatory targets, predicted the president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Dr Peter Lurie, who called for mandatory standards. for sodium.
“If the impact isn’t what we’re hoping for, then I think we’re going back to the drawing board, and mandatory cuts are on the table,” he said.