May 25, 2013
Salt Kills, FDA Stalls
Posted on Apr 20, 2010
It’s bad enough that Americans eat about twice as much salt as they need—and much more than is healthful—but most don’t even realize it. Reducing sodium in processed foods like cereal and soup and in restaurant meals could save more than 100,000 lives a year, and medical groups are urging the government to take action.
The Institute of Medicine released a report Tuesday showing that voluntary efforts to reduce sodium in the American diet have utterly failed. The organization, which is an independent nonprofit associated with the National Academy of Sciences, wants regulators to set mandatory limits on how much salt can be added to food products.
Sodium is a stealth risk. As the IOM explains:
Excessive salt is linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
So far, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t seem all that moved by the IOM report’s findings. While the agency’s website says “[t]hese recommendations are being carefully reviewed and evaluated by FDA,” Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg told The Associated Press, “We believe we can achieve some substantial voluntary reductions.” She appears to have missed the point. —PZS
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