Salt standards from 2010 to 2016

Since the article assigned about changing the amount of salt in processed foods was from 2010, I wanted to look for a more recent article to learn about the current standards, regulatory measures, and cultural acceptance of salt in our processed foods. What I learned was that six years later, the FDA is still working to reduce the amount of sodium Americans are consuming on a daily basis (currently, about 3,400 mg per day, 50% higher than the recommended 2,300 mg per day). Today, the FDA is taking the approach of asking manufacturers to reduce salt to meet their guidelines, but this is voluntary for producers. With a wider understanding and belief in the links between sodium and high blood pressure, many Americans may already be looking for low-sodium versions of their favorite foods, so a move to lower sodium content could improve sales for many food manufacturers.

Another recent article, however, shows how much sodium is still in our processed food, often hiding in those places we would not expect, like white bread and ketchup. For many Americans, lowering sodium intake is still difficult when salt hides in so many processed foods, often in very large quantities (“One slice of Arnold Specialty Brick Oven Premium white bread has more sodium (160 milligrams) than about 20 Utz Kettle Classic Original potato chips (120 milligrams).” (Tavernise, 2016)).

In an effort to increase the visibility of sodium in our food, some cities have passed laws which require restaurants to note high salt content foods on their menus. While it seems like the FDA will always get pushback from manufacturers for trying to regulate salt, regulatory measures like this are helpful in giving the public information about how much salt they are eating. Improved labeling of processed foods for sale will hopefully continue to improve the visibility of high-sodium foods, and increasing demand for low-sodium alternatives will hopefully force manufacturers to lower the amount of salt in the products they produce.

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