The FDA has proposed a series of "voluntary" guidelines of salt intake that could herald stricter future measures.
The Obama administration says there’s too much salt in your diet, and the Food and Drug Administration has put out some new “voluntary targets” for reducing sodium in your diet.
It’s part of a concerted effort by the government — and similar to efforts in many other nations — to come after salts and sugars through taxes and other methods of encouraging consumers to eat a healthier diet.
In the proposal, the FDA is suggesting both short-term and long-term voluntary goals for salt ranging from restaurant meals to prepared foods.
The FDA says that research shows excess sodium consumption is a contributory factor in hypertension, which can result in heart disease and stroke — two leading causes of death in the United States.
These are merely voluntary targets, but they likely herald a greater effort targeting salts that could involve regulations and taxation. Many have proposed that the government either tax high-salt items to discourage producers from making them and increase revenues which could be spent on prevention, or pass laws limiting the salt in products like prepared foods.
“Approximately 75 percent of total sodium intake comes from processed and commercially prepared (e.g., restaurant) foods,” the FDA states. “This voluntary guidance aims to help Americans achieve the Dietary Guidelines-recommended sodium levels by encouraging food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operations to reduce sodium in foods. It is intended to complement existing efforts by food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operations to achieve these goals.
“FDA recognizes the important role of sodium in food for microbial safety, stability, and other functions,” the statement continues. “This guidance is not intended to undermine these functions, but to provide measurable voluntary draft short-term (2 year) and long-term (10 year) goals for sodium content (from sodium chloride, commonly called “salt,” as well as other sodium-containing ingredients) in commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods to reduce excess population sodium intake.”