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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
Supporting strategies target a range of stakeholders and serve to underpin and augment the primary strategies. Strategies related to monitoring and surveillance are also included so that essential data about sodium intake, salt taste preference, related consumer knowledge and attitudes, and the sodium content of the food supply are available.
RECOMMENDATION 1: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)should expeditiously initiate a process to set mandatory national standards for the sodium content of foods.
Strategy 1.1FDA should modify the generally recognized as safe (GRAS)status of salt added to processed foods in order to reduce the salt contentof the food supply in a stepwise manner.
FDA should expeditiously undertake regulatory activities to establish conditions of use for salt in processed food to assist in achieving population intakes of sodium that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines forAmericans. The justification for modifying the GRAS status of salt is based on changes in the body of evidence for the health effects of salt that have emerged since it was first recognized as GRAS in 1959.
Reductions in the levels of salt added to foods under the modified GRAS provisions should be accomplished in a stepwise manner to allow time for adaptation of consumer taste preference for salt added to foods and for industry to deal with technical challenges. Moreover, specific and extensive ongoing monitoring is needed to further inform the stepwise process. Implementation of new provisions for the GRAS status of salt should include initial analysis and data gathering by FDA in collaboration with stakeholders. The decisions made should be transparent and science-based. The available array of options for implementation should be considered; special labeling/disclosure statements or informational labeling regarding sodium content, if appropriate, should be incorporated into the implementation process.
Strategy 1.2FDA should likewise extend its stepwise application of theGRAS modification, adjusted as necessary, to encompass salt added tomenu items offered by restaurant/foodservice operations that are sufficiently standardized so as to allow practical implementation.
The significant contribution to sodium intake made by restaurant/foodservice menu items warrants targeted attention to this sector of the food supply. The strategy is based on the application of the Federal Food,