Tag Archives salt/sodium

Responding to pressure from health groups, the government and consumer demand, food companies have been reducing levels of sugar and salt in their foods, the Washington Post reports, but levels of saturated fats in the updated recipes for these reduced-salt or -sugar foods have surged. The Post cites a November 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that purportedly found a significant rise in saturated fats in four of the five food categories examined—cereals, yogurts, snacks and frozen/refrigerated meals showed increases, although candy did not—while the same categories largely showed decreases in salt and sugar. Food scientists who formulate products with reduced sugar and salt told the Post that decreasing one nutrient often results in increases for others to account for the weight and volume lost, especially when less of the replacement ingredient is required, such as the use of stevia to replace sugar. The author of the USDA report speculated that the rise…

The Scottish Government is seeking public comment on a consultation that proposes actions to improve diet and reduce obesity in Scotland. The government previously announced funding of more than $55 million over five years to limit the marketing of food high in fat, sugar and salt and provide weight-loss support for people with type 2 diabetes. The consultation, which is open through January 31, 2018, asks questions about promotions and marketing, “out of home” or restaurant eating, labeling, product reformulation and taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages or similar products. Scotland is also considering proposals to limit “junk food” advertising and provide support for small and mid-sized food manufacturers to reformulate and develop healthier products.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for "a Label on Processed Meat and Poultry Products Warning the Public that Frequent Consumption May Increase the Risk of Colorectal Cancer." Citing the International Agency for Research on Cancer's finding that smoked, salted and/or cured bacon, hot dogs, ham, sausages and similar products are "carcinogenic to humans," CSPI argues that epidemiological studies backed by "mechanistic evidence" support the alleged link between processed meat and an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The group also points to similar conclusions drawn by the World Cancer Research Fund International, American Institute for Cancer Research, Imperial College London and the American Cancer Society, the latter of which "advises the public to 'minimize consumption of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs' based on evidence that the risk of colorectal cancer increases by 15…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a November 4, 2016, report titled "Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives," which urges policymakers “to reduce children’s exposure to all forms of marketing for foods high in fats, salt and sugars [HFSS], including via digital media.” In particular, the report claims digital marketing campaigns take advantage of regulatory loopholes to amplify the traditional media advertising of HFSS foods, “achieving greater ad attention and recall, greater brand awareness and more positive brand attitudes, greater intent to purchase and higher product sales.” The report calls attention to the privacy issues that purportedly surround the digital marketing of foods to children, including the collection and use of geo-location and personal data. It also warns that “some food chains partner with gaming companies in order to, for example, make the chain’s restaurants important game locations,” while other advertisers reportedly rely on advergames, social…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the public comment periods for draft guidance “that provides practical, voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry.” Titled ‘‘Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods,” the guidance sets short- and long-term sodium targets for the following food categories: (i) cheese; (ii) fats, oils and dressings; (iii) fruits, vegetables and legumes; (iv) nuts and seeds; (v) soups; (vi) sauces, gravies, dips, condiments and seasonings; (vii) cereals; (viii) bakery products; (ix) meat and poultry; (x) fish and other seafood; (xi) snacks; (xii) sandwiches; (xiii) mixed ingredient dishes; (xiv) salads; (xv) other combination foods; and (xvi) baby/toddler foods. The agency will now accept comments pertaining to the food categories and two-year salt reduction goals until October 17, 2016. The comment period for the 10-year targets as well as feedback on technical…

A New York appeals court has reportedly vacated a February 2016 order that stayed enforcement of New York City’s regulation requiring chain restaurants with more than 15 locations to post warning icons on menus next to items with more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The ruling allows enforcement to begin on June 6, 2016, with violators subject to $200 fines. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) won an emergency stay on February 29, one day before the regulation’s scheduled March 1 enforcement date. Details about the NRA’s lawsuit challenging the regulation appear in Issues 586, 595 and 596 of this Update. See Reuters, May 26, 2016.   Issue 606

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published draft guidance “that provides practical, voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry.” Titled ‘‘Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods,” the guidance sets short- and long-term sodium targets for the following food categories: (i) cheese; (ii) fats, oils and dressings; (iii) fruits, vegetables and legumes; (iv) nuts and seeds; (v) soups; (vi) sauces, gravies, dips, condiments and seasonings; (vii) cereals; (viii) bakery products; (ix) meat and poultry; (x) fish and other seafood; (xi) snacks; (xii) sandwiches; (xiii) mixed ingredient dishes; (xiv) salads; (xv) other combination foods; and (xvi) baby/toddler foods. “Our goal is to promote gradual, efficient voluntary reduction of overall sodium content using effective and sustainable strategies that maintain other measures of nutritional quality,” states the agency in its guidance. “The extent and speed of reduction will…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has published a report finding that 77 percent of surveyed adults use the Nutrition Facts label at least some of the time when buying a food product. Intended to help the agency regulate food and dietary supplement labeling, the 11th edition of the FDA Health and Diet Survey relies on data from 2,480 participants interviewed by telephone or cellphone about their use of nutrition labels and understanding of nutrition claims, purchasing practices and general attitudes toward nutrition and health issues. The results highlight consumer attitudes about salt reduction, with almost all respondents agreeing “the nation eats more salt than we should.” Of these, 50 percent believe individuals are most effective in curbing their own salt consumption, while 25 percent believe the responsibility lies with food manufacturers and retailers, 5 percent with restaurants, and 5 percent with…

The Salt Institute has penned an April 11, 2016, letter asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to withdraw the sodium provisions included in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advise individuals to consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium. According to the Salt Institute, these provisions—in addition to those that appear in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans—violate the statutory mandate that requires them to reflect “the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge which is current at the time the report is prepared.” In particular, the letter argues that both the 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees (DGACs) based their sodium recommendations on a 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that failed to contain enough evidence to set a recommended dietary allowance. “Rather than thoroughly assessing the current scientific and medical knowledge, the Agencies reached…

The fourth edition of a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) survey has reported a 4-percent reduction in sodium across 451 packaged and restaurant foods over a 10-year period. Titled “Salt Assault: Brand-name Comparisons of Processed Foods,” the report claims that, on average, surveyed items reduced their sodium content by 41 milligrams per 100 grams of product. The consumer watchdog notes, however, that many products still have room to make additional reductions. Citing “dramatic variations in sodium content across different brands of a given food,” the report singles out products in the canned diced tomato, whole wheat bread and ketchup categories—among others—for further improvement. In particular, CSPI urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture to not only set mandatory sodium limits for processed and restaurant foods, but require warning labels on those that are high in sodium. “For 40 years, the food industry has…

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