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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
to gather data and background information about restaurant/foodservice operations and to carry out the stakeholder dialogues that will be necessary to develop, and then implement, workable regulations for claims to be used in such operations.
Strategy 3.3Congress should act to remove the exemption from nutrition labeling for food products intended solely for use in restaurant/foodservice operations.
Currently, U.S. law1 exempts products intended for restaurant/food-service operations from bearing nutrition labeling. If small as well as large restaurant/foodservice operators are to be encouraged to take part in efforts to reduce the sodium content of their products, information about the sodium content of the foods they acquire from their distributors is critical information.
Strategy 3.4Food retailers, governments, businesses, institutions, andother large-scale organizations that purchase or distribute food shouldestablish sodium specifications for the foods they purchase and the foodoperations they oversee.
Groups that purchase large volumes of food products that in turn are either sold to others or served as part of a restaurant/foodservice operation can wield a powerful tool when they set the specifications for products they will purchase and foods served by operations under their authority. Specifically, the nutrition specifications for foods procured are likely to provide incentives for food manufacturers to develop or offer lower-sodium foods, especially given the high levels of procurement expenditures. Further, specifications for the use of sodium in foods served can ensure that foodservice staff will not add excess sodium. Federal, state, and local governments all have the potential to create sodium specifications for foods purchased or served in their facilities or through their programs. Relevant programs include the federal school lunch and breakfast programs as well as the military. To some extent the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may also be useful to drive change through the use of incentives for participants to purchase lower-sodium food products. State and local governments are also large-scale procurers of foods and can be instrumental in this strategy. Further, food retailers can assist in