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Food Industry Leaders Take On Salt Reduction

April 3, 2013

Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Restaurant Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest hosted food industry leaders, health professionals and government officials to discuss the progress and challenges of reducing sodium content in food products.

Two of the nation’s largest food industry groups, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and the nation’s most prominent nutrition advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), brought together food industry leaders, health professionals, and government officials to discuss the progress and challenges of reducing the sodium content in food products to continue efforts to help consumers meet the 2010 Dietary Guidelines of 2,300 mg of sodium per day.  
The one-day meeting, “Getting to 2,300: A Progress Report and Opportunities for Further Progress,” was held today in Washington, D.C.  Topics of discussion included the progress being made by industry at achieving sodium reductions in food products, the opportunities ahead for continuing this progress and the technical challenges of achieving these reductions without sacrificing consumer acceptance. 
“Food and beverage manufacturers are committed to providing consumers with the product choices they need to achieve their optimal sodium intake levels. For years, food companies have been introducing new products into the marketplace containing lower sodium, or with no added salt,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. “And although progress is being made, reducing sodium in products without affecting the taste or consumer acceptance of products is no easy task. Consumer acceptance of sodium-reduced food products is an important factor that must always be taken into consideration.”
“Neither public health officials nor many food industry executives are satisfied with the sodium status quo,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.  “It is encouraging that some of the major manufacturers and restaurants are taking the problem seriously, sponsoring research, and actually lowering sodium levels in their products."
“Restaurants have made significant progress in developing lower sodium menu options for patrons,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.  “The food and restaurant industries' proactive and ongoing efforts will better enable the gradual reduction of sodium in the food supply, which will ultimately drive us towards the goal of reducing sodium consumption by consumers.”
The one-day meeting was a follow up discussion to a joint conference sponsored by GMA and CSPI in 2007 that focused on exploring ways to help consumers lower their sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day.

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