WASHINGTON, April 19 U.S. regulators are
planning a push to gradually cut the amount of salt Americans
consume, saying less sodium would reduce deaths from
hypertension and heart disease, The Washington Post reported on
The effort would eventually lead to the first legal limits
on the amount of salt allowed in processed foods, the newspaper
reported. The plan is to be launched this year but officials
have not set salt limits, the article said.
The government plans to work with the food industry and
health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of
years to ratchet down sodium consumption, the newspaper said,
citing U.S. Food and Drug Administration sources.
U.S. researchers said in a recent study that working with
the food industry to cut salt intake by nearly 10 percent could
prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes over
several decades and save the U.S. government $32 billion in
Eating too much salt is a major cause of high blood
pressure, which the Institute of Medicine, one of the National
Academies of Sciences, last week declared a "neglected disease"
that costs the U.S. health system $73 billion a year.
The Post said the FDA, which regulates most processed
foods, and the U.S. Agriculture Department, which oversees meat
and poultry, would work together on the effort to reduce
Americans' sodium consumption.
Manufacturers can now use as much salt as they like in
products but they are required to report the amount on
Many food makers have already begun to cut salt content.
In March, PepsiCo Inc PEP.N., which owns the Pepsi,
Frito-Lay and Quaker brands, announced that it plans a
reduction of 25 per cent in the average sodium per serving in
major global food brands in key markets by 2015.
(Reporting by Joanne Allen, editing by Vicki Allen)