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Public hearing in response to a 2005 petition (CSPI, 2005) requesting rulemaking regarding salt and a House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations 2005 statement encouraging the agency to focus on ways—both voluntary by the food industry and regulatory by FDA and USDA—to reduce salt in processed and restaurant foods (HHS/FDA, 2007a)

The petition specifically requested FDA to

  • revoke the GRAS status of salt

  • amend any prior sanctions for salt

  • require food manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium in all processed foods

  • require health messages on retail packages of salt (0.5 oz.+); reduce the DV for sodium from 2,400 to 1,500 mg

Issues discussed—GRAS vs. food additive status:

  • Could a food additive regulation be constructed to prescribe limitations for uses of salt? If so, how?

  • Would reducing the salt content of food, even in a modest way, impact the safety or quality of various foods given the wide variety of technical functions for which salt is used in food? How feasible would it be to mitigate this impact, if true? Could it be mitigated by the addition of other ingredients?

  • If you agree that the sodium content of processed foods should be reduced, what actions (other than those suggested by the petitioner) would you recommend?

  • How could FDA partner with interested stakeholders regarding the development of appropriate recommendations or other information to reduce the salt content of processed foods?

Issues discussed—food labeling:

  • What is the effectiveness of FDA labeling regulations in reducing salt intake by the public?

  • What data are available regarding the potential for label statements about the health effects of salt to reduce salt intake?

  • To what extent could FDA’s labeling policies provide incentives to manufacturers to reduce the salt content of processed foods?


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