FDA to Issue Salt Reduction Guidelines for Food Industry
(HealthDay News) — Voluntary guidelines to reduce the amount of salt in grocery and restaurant foods are being prepared for release by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In 2010, an Institute of Medicine report said food companies hadn't done enough to make foods less salty, and advised the federal government to set maximum sodium levels for different foods, the Associated Press reported. However, the FDA prefers voluntary guidelines meant to encourage food makers to gradually lower salt levels in their products in order to give them time to develop lower-sodium foods and to allow people's taste buds to adjust to the lower sodium levels.
Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams (1.5 teaspoons) of salt a day. Most of the salt consumed by Americans comes from processed foods and restaurant meals. Along with adding flavor to foods, salt is used to prevent the growth of bacteria, increase shelf life, and improve texture and appearance, the AP reported.
A number of food makers and retailers have already moved to lower salt levels. Subway restaurants said it has reduced salt levels by 30%, food giant ConAgra says it made a 20% cut, and Wal-Mart promised a 25% reduction in many items by next year.