US FDA lays focus on reducing sodium in processed and packaged foods

13 October 2021 | News

To improve nutrition and reduce the burden of disease image credit- shutterstock image credit- shutterstock

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a final guidance, "Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods," which provides voluntary short-term sodium reduction targets for food manufacturers, chain restaurants and food service operators for 163 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods. 

The guidance is another step the agency is taking to advance the Administration's whole-of-government approach to nutrition and health and improve future health outcomes.

Research shows that people consume 50% more sodium than recommended. This includes our youngest and most vulnerable populations, with more than 95% of children aged 2 to 13 years old exceeding recommended limits of sodium for their age groups. Although many consumers may want to reduce their sodium intake, about 70% of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, making it challenging to limit sodium. Changes across the overall food supply will make it easier to access lower-sodium options and reduce intake even in the absence of behavior change.

The targets in the final guidance seek to decrease average sodium intake from approximately 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day, about a 12% reduction, over the next 2.5 years. 

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