IFT comments on sodium reduction in US

Saturday, 11 February, 2012

Reducing sodium intake can be an important part of overall health. However, reducing sodium in food products can impact taste, texture, nutrition, product structure and food safety.

The US Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has submitted its thoughts on reducing sodium consumption in the United States to several official bodies: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). The IFT offered scientific perspectives and practical insights on reducing sodium intake in the US.

The IFT’s recommendations focused on areas such as funding for research, monitoring programs, technological challenges and communication issues.

A major focus of the comments was funding for research into sodium-reduced foods. The IFT claimed that “investing in food-based solutions for sodium reduction will stimulate meaningful, safe and sustainable impacts on sodium intake in the United States”. It also called for increased support for food scientists and technologists whose focus is reducing sodium in foods and beverages, arguing that public funds should be allocated to research on sodium reduction technology.

While being supportive of initiatives to reduce sodium levels in food, the IFT drew reference to research that suggests gradual, step-wise reductions in food supply are most successful in ensuring consumer acceptance of low-sodium foods.

It also warned the government not to go about reducing sodium in foods “too far, too fast” since current research on the short- and long-term implications of sodium reduction initiatives is not yet thorough enough.

According to the IFT, the short- and long-term health effects of diets with less than 1500 mg of sodium per day are not yet known.

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