FDA Considers Limiting Salt in Processed Food

Posted by Admin on December 5, 2007
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently held its first public hearing on regulating the amount of salt found in processed food. According to the American Medical Association, halving the amount of salt added to the American diet could reduce deaths in the U.S. by 150,000 a year. The AMA and other advocates of public health are urging the FDA to take action to reduce the high levels of salt in food. These groups claim that Americans don't consume large amounts of salts because they choose to, but rather do so unknowingly because manufacturers and restaurants add it to food. The AMA estimates that most Americans consume two to three times the amount of sodium that is considered healthy, with an estimated 75 to 80 percent of it coming from restaurant and processed foods.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also presented information regarding the salt inundation found in consumer diets. American dietary guidelines recommend a daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, but the average American consumes around 4,000 milligrams of sodium daily, nearly double the recommended maximum.

The CSPI also states that "very little sodium actually comes from the salt shaker or home cooking", and according to one study, 77 percent comes from processed and restaurant foods. Other ways that salt sneaks into the daily diet is through foods thought to be low in salt, such as bread and cheese, that actually contribute 10.7 and 5.5 percent of daily sodium intake respectively. The public health groups wants the FDA to impose stricter limits on claims about "low sodium" content and to change labeling of sodium to "generally recognized as dangerous."

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