Tag Archives salt/sodium

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has launched a campaign to halve the amount of sodium in prepackaged foods and restaurant meals within 10 years. CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson this week presented the group’s case to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, claiming that “Because it raises blood pressure and increases the risk of hypertension, heart attacks and kidney disease, salt is arguably the most harmful ingredient in our food supply.” According to Jacobson, “Gradually reducing sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods by half would ultimately save an estimated 150,000 lives and billions of dollars annually.” Jacobson’s testimony underscored a concurrent CSPI exposé on restaurant meals that contain more than 4,000 mg of sodium per plate. The consumer advocacy group apparently examined meals at 17 restaurant chains, finding that “85 out of 102 meals had more than a day’s worth of sodium, and some had more…

A Texas resident has filed a putative class action in a New Jersey federal court against the manufacturer of a fruit blend, which he alleges is falsely advertised as a product that helps control blood pressure and flush sodium. Slaughter v. Unilever United States, Inc., No. 09-2072 (D.N.J., filed May 1, 2009). At issue is Unilever’s SuperShots®, a fruit blend in three flavors sold in small “shot”-sized bottles. Each contains 350 mg of potassium and is allegedly promoted as a functional food that “will enable consumers to help control blood pressure and flush sodium from their bodies.” According to the complaint, the product does not have this effect and has not been subjected to any clinical trials. The plaintiff seeks to certify a nationwide class of product purchasers and alleges violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, breach of implied and express warranties and unjust enrichment. He seeks restitution, disgorgement, monetary…

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report has determined that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. adult population should limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day. According to the CDC’s March 27, 2009, MMWR Weekly, the federal government recommended in 2005 that “all persons with hypertension, all middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks” should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day, and 69.2 percent of adults met these criteria in 2005-2006. The limit for adults without these characteristics remains at 2,300 mg/day, or about one teaspoon. Because CDC based its estimate of those in the group that should consume less salt on NHANES data, which do not include institutionalized individuals, the CDC cautions that their inclusion “likely would increase the percentage of the population for whom the recommended 1,500 mg/day sodium limit is applicable.” CDC notes, “Most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought,…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has published new data on the levels of sodium in processed foods. CSPI apparently found that of the more than 500 products tested in 2005 and retested for this report, “[t]he average sodium content of 528 has remained essentially constant, increasing by a slight 0.6 percent. About as many products (109) increased by more than five percent as decreased (114) by that percentage. And there were almost twice as many (29) products that increased by 30 percent or more as decreased by that percentage (18).” CSPI calls on restaurateurs and food processors to “lower the sodium content of their foods for the sake of their customers’ health and to avoid unflattering publicity.” The advocacy group also calls on the federal government to set sodium limits for processed foods and for the Food and Drug Administration to change salt’s regulatory status from “Generally…

Pediatric urologists and nephrologists across the United States have reportedly noted an increase in the number of kidney stones diagnosed in children. An ailment commonly associated with middle-aged men, kidney stones are typically formed when “oxalate, a byproduct of certain foods, binds to calcium in the urine,” according to an October 29,2008, New York Times article, which stated that “the two biggest risk factors for this binding process are  not drinking enough fluids and eating too much salt.” The article also cited “evidence that sucrose, found in sodas, can also increase risk of stones, as can high-protein weight-loss diets, which are growing in popularity among teenagers.” The incidence of kidney stones has also purportedly risen in women and young adults in their 20s and 30s. Physicians told New York Times reporter Laurie Tarkan that childhood obesity and a diet high in salt are the most likely culprits behind the new cases.…

A poultry producers coalition has reportedly launched a campaign to end “natural” labeling claims for chickens enhanced with water, salt or binding agents such as carrageenan. Sanderson Farms, Inc., Foster Farms and Gold’n Plump Poultry have asked USDA, which is currently redrafting its rules on “natural” claims, to exclude chicken products that are mechanically injected or tumbled with a marinade solution to improve appearance and moisture retention. The current definition specifies only that products cannot contain artificial ingredients and must be “minimally processed.” The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) contends that “some unscrupulous poultry producers add as much as 15 percent saltwater–and then have the gall to label such pumped-up poultry products ‘natural.’” U.S. Representatives Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Charles Pickering (R-Miss.) claimed in a recent press release that approximately 33 percent of fresh chicken sold to consumers was altered via injection or “vacuum tumbling.” They also argued…

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