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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
The following pages provide information on the three components of the UK salt reduction initiative as reported by the Food Standard Agency (FSA).9
Salt Reduction Program: Focus Areas
Involvement with the Food Industry
Recognizing that approximately three-quarters of dietary salt intake comes from processed food, FSA established voluntary targets for salt in a number of processed food categories.10 The targets are a means to track and report progress toward salt intake reductions and to provide guidance to industry. Starting with discussions that began in 2003, FSA developed a set of calculations to look at the potential impact of salt reductions in different food categories on population salt intake. The calculations were based on average sodium levels in foods within categories, weighted to account for varying consumption levels of different foods. The calculations were used to forecast how changes in the average salt content of various food categories can help the population reach the daily target of 6 g salt.11 After soliciting and considering public comments, the final calculation spreadsheet was published in February 2005.12
Also in 2005, FSA Strategic Plan 2005–2010 was completed, which aimed to reduce the average population salt intake to 6 g/d (2,400 mg/d) by 2010 and to establish targets for salt content of key food categories by 2006. FSA consulted with the public and stakeholders to develop the final, voluntary salt targets for 2010, which were published in March 2006.12 Eighty-five processed food categories including bread, bacon, breakfast cereals, and cheese were included among the target foods. FSA reported that it aimed to set challenging levels that would have a meaningful impact on consumer salt intake, while being mindful of food safety and technical issues and acknowledging that major processing changes would be necessary for certain foods to meet the targets.13
FSA reports that all sectors of the food industry have responded posi-