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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is setting its sights on salt.
On June 1, the agency issued draft guidance for public comment that provides "practical, voluntary" sodium-reduction targets for the food industry. The short-term (two-year) and long-term (10-year) targets are intended to help the American public gradually reduce sodium intake from 3,400 to 2,300 milligrams per day, a level recommended by experts and scientific evidence.
The targets are also intended to complement many existing efforts by food manufacturers, restaurants and foodservice operations to reduce sodium in foods.
Included in the draft guidance is a common system for defining and measuring progress on reducing sodium in the U.S. food supply. The approach is to establish reasonable, voluntary reduction targets for the majority of processed and prepared foods, placing foods in nearly 150 categories, from bakery products to soups, according to the FDA.
The draft targets factor in data on consumer preferences, as well as current industry efforts to reduce sodium.
FDA said it's especially encouraging adoption by food manufacturers with products that make up a significant portion of national sales in one or more categories. The agency estimates that fewer than 10 percent of packaged foods account for more than 80 percent of sales.
"Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that's hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell. "Today's announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health."
To read the draft guidance, click here.