FDA Issues Guidance for Food Industry to Reduce Sodium

The agency has asked the food industry to reduce sodium in processed and commercially prepared food

The FDA has issued draft guidance that provides voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry, according to a news release. The agency recommends a sodium intake of 2,300 mg per day, while the average intake in the U.S. is 3,400 mg per day.

The FDA says that the relationship between sodium intake and high blood pressure is clear, linking diets high in sodium to high blood pressure.

"Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health.”

An emphasis is being placed on food manufacturers and restaurant chains, as the FDA estimates less than 10 percent of packaged foods account for more than 80 percent of the sales.

“The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths. Because the majority of sodium in our diets comes from processed and prepared foods, consumers are challenged in lowering their sodium intake themselves.”

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