Food and Drug Administration urges the food industry to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in products amid a “growing epidemic of preventable food-related conditions,” the agency said on Wednesday in updated guidelines . The new recommendations aim to reduce the country’s average sodium intake by 12% over the next two and a half years.
“Limiting certain nutrients, such as sodium, in our diets plays a crucial role in preventing diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular disease that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority groups,” the FDA said. in a press release. “These diseases often result in hundreds of thousands of lives lost and billions in annual health care spending.”
According to the FDA, Americans consume an average of nearly 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, more than 1,000 milligrams more than the recommended amount for those 14 and older. Nearly 70% of sodium intake comes from packaged, processed foods and restaurants, the agency said.
The new guidelines aim to reduce the average daily amount of salt intake from 3,400 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams, which is still higher than health officials would like.
“While the average intake is still above the limit recommended by the dietary guidelines for Americans of 2,300 mg per day for those 14 years and older, we know that even these modest reductions made slowly over the next few years will dramatically reduce diet-related illnesses, ”the FDA said.
Too muchcan lead to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Food manufacturers, retailers and food service companies are urged to gradually reduce the levels of salt in their products to allow time for proper reformulation. But with these changes, the FDA also advised the food industry not to alter other nutrient levels in a way that would negatively affect the nutritional quality of products, such as adding more sugar or saturated fat.
The FDA recommended that the new guidelines go into effect “as soon as possible” and said it would continue to issue updated goals in the future to further reduce sodium content in a phased manner.
“This iterative approach will help support incremental reductions in sodium levels across the food supply so that consumer tastes adjust, health outcomes improve, and no company or category of foods neither singled out nor examined, ”the FDA said.