What the new FDA Guidelines on Sodium Reduction in Foods Mean for the US F&B Industry

Published Date : Jun 08, 2016

Salt can hide in some of the most unexpected places. For instance, just a single slice of white bread has more sodium than around 20 potato chips. 

American Diet and the Recommended Limit of Sodium Intake

An average American adults consumes around 3,400 milligrams of sodium on a daily basis. Considering that the recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day, Americans are consuming over a 1000 milligrams more than the suggested limit. What the people are not aware of is that an astounding 70 per cent or more of the sodium consumed on an everyday basis is actually already in the food even before it makes it to the table. An increase in the consumption of sodium, which is a key ingredient of table salt, can result in high blood pressure. This, in turn, can be a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. 

What does the Government Plan to do about it?

The Obama administration is pushing the US food industry to make daily foods less salty. Also proposed are the long-awaited guidelines on sodium intake in an attempt to prevent an increasing number of deaths resulting from stroke and heart disease each year. A set of voluntary guidelines were released by the US Food and Drug administration on June 1. However, food companies are not required to adhere to these guidelines and it may take another year or even more to ensure these guidelines are final. The idea here is to encourage restaurants as well as companies to adopt an approach that is more consistent. 

Food Companies Doing their Bit to Reduce Sodium Intake 

A number of food companies, retailers, and even restaurants have begun reducing the usage of salt, and thereby the levels of sodium, in their products. ConAgra Foods, Wal-Mart, Subway restaurants, and Nestle have reportedly achieved significant reductions of sodium in their products. 

If companies do gradually comply with these newly set down regulations, consumers are not likely to notice an immediate change in taste in foods that contain higher concentrations of sodium, such as pasta, pizzas, soups, and breads.