FDA announce draft guidelines for voluntary salt target levels for food manufacturers

On 1st June 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidelines for voluntary sodium reduction in processed and commercially prepared food.  The guidelines outline both short-term (two year) and long-term (ten year) targets for over 150 different categories of food and aim to progressively reduce American’s daily salt intake by one third. Current average daily sodium intakes are estimated to be 3,400mg (equivalent to 8.5g salt) and the new guidelines hope to reduce this to 2,300mg (equivalent to 5.7g salt).

“The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths. Because the majority of sodium in our diets comes from processed and prepared foods, consumers are challenged in lowering their sodium intake themselves.”

The FDA are confident that the short-term target of 3,000mg is achievable, with many foods already obeying the target. It is expected that the voluntary guidelines will achieve significant reductions in sodium intake, while giving food manufacturer’s flexibility and consumer’s greater control over their salt intake.

CASH fully support the FDA's efforts to reduce salt in the American diet, and encourage all global food manufacturers to publicly support their guidance, as Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo & Unilever have thus far. In doing so they will create a level playing field and ensure gradual salt reduction occurs across the whole population.