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Cities and states propose voluntary framework for cutting salt in packaged and restaurant foods
Date:1/11/2010

high blood pressure. If we can reduce the sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods, we will give consumers more choice about the amount of salt they eat, and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke in the process."

Once finalized, the targets will provide a comprehensive framework for reducing sodium in the nation's food supply and a way to monitor progress. The initiative includes two-year and four-year targets for each category of food, and it leaves ample room for variety within each category. If a company commits to the sodium target in a particular food category, the target will apply to its overall portfolio in that category not to each individual product. A company selling three equally popular lines of crackers could keep one type extra salty as long as its overall cracker portfolio met the target for crackers, measured in milligrams of sodium per 100 grams of cracker. The proposed targets are posted at nyc.gov/health/salt.

Until February 1, the Health Department will solicit additional comments from the food industry, especially from those companies that have not yet participated in the target-setting process, as well as consumer organizations and other interested parties.

The recommended daily limit for sodium intake is 1,500 mg for most adults (including anyone who is black or over 40) and 2,300 mg for others. Some food products, such as deli-meat sandwiches, pack that much sodium in one serving. But much of the salt in Americans' diets comes from breads, muffins and other foods that don't taste salty. Salt levels can vary dramatically among popular products in the same category, such as breakfast cereals, indicating that lower levels are both technically feasible and commercially viable.

Other countries are already reducing salt in packaged and restaurant foods. In the United Kingdom, a similar collaboration between the food industry and government has already
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Contact: Jessica Scaperotti
pressoffice@health.nyc.gov
212-788-5290
New York City Health Department
Source:Eurekalert

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