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The Daily Struggle with Salt

Salt goes into everything, right from soups and breakfast cereal, bread to cheese, fast-food restaurant meals and nowadays even fresh cuts of meat.// The American food supply abounds with salt and according to government data, Americans eat far too much of it.

Now the American Medical Association, has been demanding that the government and the food industry reduces its almost persistently high level of salt in many processed foods.

The medical association has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration should limit the amount of salt that food companies are allowed to add to products. The Association has said that the F.D.A. should regulate salt as a food additive.

Should this recommendation be adopted, packaged-food companies would then be forced to adhere to limits on allowable sodium levels for the various categories of food, as well as hasten the search for substitute to salt as a preservative and flavor enhancer.

This initiative has cast salt into forefront of public health concerns raising questions as to how attentive the F.D.A. has been to the problem of excess sodium consumption. The F.D.A. has responded to these demands, assuring that it will solicit comments for a hearing or workshop on the health concerns about salt. The food industry, on their part have adamantly opposed any regulation of salt and is lobbying the government to prevent any attempts to force companies to limit the salt content in food.

Last month, the head of the Salt Institute, Richard L. Hanneman, met with Dr. John O. Agwunobi, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, to lobby against salt regulation by the F.D.A. The Salt Institute represents companies like Morton International, based in Chicago, and United Salt, based in Houston. The total value of the United States salt market is $340 million.

According to Mr. Hanneman science did not support reductions of salt across the boa
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