The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Releases Short-term Salt Reduction Targets
Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released their long-awaited voluntary short term (2.5 year) salt reduction targets, first proposed in 2016. The targets will apply to 163 categories of commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods, including breads, cheeses, sauces and toddler/baby food.
Average salt intake in the U.S. is approximately 8.5 g/day and the majority of that salt intake comes from salt already present in food bought at the supermarket or for consumption outside the home. The FDA’s targets are intended to reduce average salt intake to 7.5 g/day by encouraging food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operations to gradually reduce salt in foods over time.
The targets include both a target mean concentration and an upper bound concentration of salt. The target mean salt concentration is the target for the food category as a whole rather than for every product in that category. The upper bound concentration is the target for the highest salt concentration for any product in that food category.
Mhairi Brown, Programme Manager for WASSH, said: “After five long years of promise, we are pleased to see the release of the FDA’s salt reduction targets. Given our globalised world, the fact that US-based manufacturers and restaurants will now have to adhere to a formalised, national salt reduction strategy will have a huge impact on the US population and worldwide. However, the targets are just a first step – they must be enforced, monitored, reset and – if voluntary progress is poor – mandated. Public health is too important to allow unnecessary levels of salt to remain in everyday foods.”