Tag Archives salt/sodium

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…

The day before the rule was set to take effect on March 1, 2016, a New York state appeals court reportedly granted an emergency stay on enforcement of a municipal regulation requiring chain restaurants to feature salt-warning icons on menus next to items containing 2,300 milligrams or more of sodium. A justice in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court granted the emergency measure, and a panel from that court will next decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction on enforcement followed by a full appeal of the case. See Bloomberg Business, February 29, 2016.   Issue 596

A New York state court has reportedly refused to grant the National Restaurant Association’s request for a preliminary injunction to stall the enforcement of New York City’s new requirement that chain restaurants label menu items containing 2,300 mg of salt or more, which is set to take effect March 1, 2016. Nat’l Restaurant Assoc. v. New York City Dept. of Health, No. 654024/2015 (N.Y. Super. Ct., New York Cty., order entered February 24, 2016). During the hearing, the court reportedly distinguished the rule from a ban on the ingredient, noting, “It’s not a ban. It’s information. It’s a warning.” Under the rule, chain restaurants must display a logo of a triangle with the image of a salt shaker next to applicable menu items or risk a $200 fine for each infraction. See Bloomberg, February 24, 2016.   Issue 595

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have published the 2015-2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which now emphasize overall dietary patterns as opposed to nutrient quotas. Explaining that “people do not eat food groups and nutrients in isolation but rather in combination,” the guidelines offer the following “overarching” recommendations: (i) “follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan”; (ii) “focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount”; (iii) “limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake”; (iv) “shift to healthier foods and beverage choices”; and (v) “support healthy eating patterns for all.” Among other things, the Dietary Guidelines specify that a healthy diet includes a variety of dark green, red, orange, and starchy vegetables as well as legumes; whole fruits; grains and whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy products and/or fortified soy beverages; a variety of proteins, such as seafood, lean meats,…

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has petitioned a New York state court for a declaratory judgment stating that a New York City regulation requiring restaurants to post warnings on menu items high in sodium is arbitrary and capricious as applied. Nat’l Restaurant Assoc. v. New York City Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, No. 654024/2015 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., filed December 3, 2015). The complaint compares the regulation to the city’s 2012 attempt to prohibit sales of soft drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces, alleging that the New York City Board of Health is merely “looking to grab headlines as the purveyor of ‘first in the nation’ health initiatives, notwithstanding that, in truth, its sodium regulation is illogical, unlawful, and more likely to mislead consumers about sodium health than help them.” NRA argues that the regulation, which took effect December 1, 2015, is “riddled with arbitrary exclusions and exemptions that…

A study examining table salts sold in China has purportedly found that many brands contain microscopic plastic particles such as polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene and cellophane. Dongqi Yang, et al., “Microplastic Pollution in Table Salts from China,” Environmental Science & Technology, October 2015. Relying on samples obtained from Chinese supermarkets, researchers report that microplastic content was highest in sea salts at 550–681 particles per kilogram, followed by lake salts at 43–364 particles/kg and rock salts at 7–204 particles/kg. The authors link this contamination to the pollution of coastal and estuary waters with water bottles, cellophane wrappers and the microbead exfoliates found in cosmetics. They also raise questions about the salt processing, drying and packaging process. Based on World Health Organization guidelines for salt intake, the study estimates that adults who maximize their sea salt consumption will ingest approximately 1,000 microplastic particles each year from table salt alone, in addition to the…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to compel the agency to act on the advocacy group’s 2005 citizen petition requesting regulations about the use of salt as a food additive. Ctr. for Sci. in Pub. Interest v. FDA, No. 15-1651 (D.D.C., filed October 8, 2015). The petition called for FDA to revoke salt’s status as generally recognized as safe, amend prior approvals of salt use, require food manufacturers to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, and mandate labeling messages about the health effects of salt in foods containing more than half an ounce of the substance. The complaint alleges that while “[n]early all Americans consume more sodium than is safe,” “[c]onsumers can exert relatively little control over their sodium intake by adjusting discretionary use of salt” because such use amounts to only 5 to 10…

The New York City (NYC) Board of Health has reportedly amended Article 81 of the NYC Health Code to require food items containing more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium to be singled out on menus and menu boards with a salt-shaker icon and an accompanying warning statement. The initiative affects restaurant chains with more than 15 locations nationwide, and the mandated warning must state that the “sodium content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). “Many others recognize the important public health impact of excess sodium intake, and I am hopeful that others will follow suit,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, was quoted as saying. The warnings will take effect on December 1, 2015, and reportedly apply to about 10 percent of menu selections offered by chain restaurants covered under the amendment. Violators of the regulation will face $200 fines. See The New York Times…

“Pass (on) the Salt: The Business Case for Sodium Reduction” is the title of a July 29, 2015, webinar organized by California-based law and policy group ChangeLab Solutions. Program faculty, including two ChangeLab staff attorneys, will reportedly discuss various institutional (e.g., state governments, hospitals) initiatives to limit the number of salty foods provided or available for purchase in the workplace and how such campaigns “can result in a positive return on investment.”   Issue 572

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