Tag Archives salt/sodium

A consumer has filed a putative class action against Kraft Foods Group, Inc. alleging that the company’s Knudsen Hampshire Sour Cream is labeled as containing 60 calories with 3.5 grams of saturated fat per halfcup while the actual content is 240 calories with 14 grams of saturated fat. Appel v. Kraft Foods Grp., Inc., No. BC587662 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty., filed July 9, 2015). The plaintiff further alleges that the listed sodium content of 10 milligrams and sugar content of one gram is incorrect because the sour cream actually contains 40 milligrams of sodium and four grams of sugar. The complaint does not provide the source of the plaintiff’s quadrupled figures. He alleges that Kraft has violated California consumer-protection statutes and seeks class certification, compensatory and punitive damages, restitution, an injunction, and attorney’s fees.   Issue 572

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published research examining self-reported efforts to reduce sodium intake among U.S. adults in 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Jing Fang, et al., “Sodium Intake Among U.S. Adults — 26 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, 2013,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 3, 2015. Based on data from 180,067 participants, the results evidently show that across all locations, “the median prevalence of taking action to reduce sodium intake was 51%,” while “the median prevalence of receiving health professional advice to reduce sodium intake was 22%.” The study authors also report that the Southern U.S. Census Region had the highest proportion of respondents that took action or received a professional recommendation to reduce sodium intake. “The data in this report highlight the opportunity to increase the proportion of health care professionals who advise their patients to reduce sodium…

The New York City (NYC) Board of Health has reportedly agreed to consider a proposed amendment to Article 81 of the NYC Health Code that would 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 proposed initiative would affect restaurant chains with more than 15 locations nationwide, and the mandated warning would state that the “sodium content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke.” Health officials assert that the average NYC adult consumes about 3,200 mg of salt daily (40 percent more than the recommended daily limit) and that restaurant and processed foods are the greatest sources of dietary sodium. If adopted, the warnings would take effect on December 1,…

After examining the sodium content of packaged food products sold throughout the United States in 2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers have reported that “fewer than half of selected food products met Food and Drug Administration [FDA] sodium-per-serving conditions for labeling as ‘healthy.’” Alexandra Lee, et al., “Sodium Content in Packaged Foods by Census Division in the United States, 2009,” Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy, April 2015. Using the 2009 Nielsen ScanTrak data to identify all branded products sold in grocery stores with annual sales of $2 million or more, the study focused on products sold in three U.S. Census divisions—South Atlantic, East North Central and Pacific—representing approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population. These three regions also “reflect places with high (South Atlantic), medium (East North Central) and low (Pacific) prevalence of hypertension.” The authors then identified “products in the 10 food categories that…

The 14-member committee charged with developing the federal government’s "2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” has issued its report containing recommendations for promoting consumption of foods and beverages that assist in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) are soliciting written comments about the committee’s report as well as offering the opportunity to provide oral comments at a March 24, 2015, public meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. Recommendations include following a diet low in saturated fat, added sugars and sodium, i.e., “less than 2,300 mg dietary sodium per day (or age-appropriate Dietary Reference Intake amount), less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat per day, and a maximum of 10 percent of total calories from added sugars per day.” The committee discourages consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.   Issue 556

Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published a study claiming that many infant and toddler foods sold in the United States contain too much sodium or sugar. Mary Cogswell, et al., “Sodium and Sugar in Complementary Infant and Toddler Foods Sold in the United States,” Pediatrics, March 2015. Relying on a database of 1,074 infant and toddler foods and drinks that sourced nutrient information from a commercial database, manufacturer websites and major grocery stores, the study reported that “the majority of toddler cereal bars/breakfast pastries, fruit, and infant/toddler snacks, desserts, and juices contained ≥1 added sugar,” that is, at least one added sugar on the ingredient list. In addition, the study’s authors noted that 41 of 79 infant mixed grains and fruits contained ≥1 added sugar, while 35 of these products derived more than 35 percent of their calories from sugar. They also concluded that…

Citing the role of excess dietary sodium in the development of cardiovascular disease and industry resistance to federal action mandating reductions, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) this week issued a report claiming that the top 25 U.S. restaurant chains have failed to lower the amount of sodium in nearly 3,000 menu items between 2012 and 2014. “As a whole, the nation’s leading restaurants are failing miserably when it comes to their patrons’ heart health,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson said. “And, unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has failed for decades to tell the food industry to lower sodium and by how much.” The public health watchdog reportedly analyzed restaurant sodium data from Menustat.org, a New York City health department database providing nutritional information about fare served at the nation’s largest restaurant chains. See CSPI News Release, December 2, 2014.   Issue 547

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a database and mobile app that score some 80,000 food products using three criteria—nutrition, ingredient concerns and processing—to inform consumers that “popular brands in many categories are not so much food as they are conveyances for excessive amounts of sugar, salt and preservatives.” According to an October 27, 2014, EWG press release, the average product rated in the Food Scores database contains 14 ingredients and 446 mg of salt per 100 g, and it has a 58 percent chance of containing added sugar, 46 percent chance of artificial or natural flavor and 14 percent chance of artificial coloring. The guide allows consumers to search by product name, company or category and provides examples of comparable products with different scores. EWG’s press release specifically calls out stuffing and stuffing mixes as products with the highest likelihood of containing added sugars. According to Bloomberg Businessweek,…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a September 2014 Vital Signs report claiming that nine in 10 U.S. children “eat more sodium than recommended.” Noting that children ages 6-18 years consume an average of 3,300 mg sodium per day, CDC estimates that 43 percent of children’s daily sodium intake “comes from just 10 common food types: pizza; bread and rolls; cold cuts and cured meats; sandwiches like cheeseburgers; snacks, such as chips; cheese; chicken patties, nuggets, and tenders; pasta mixed dishes, such as spaghetti with sauce; Mexican mixed dishes, such as burritos and tacos; and soup.” The agency is urging the federal government to apply new nutrition standards that aim to halve the sodium content of some foods served in schools by 2022. It also asks food manufacturers to replace sodium “with alternatives like spices, herbs, and vegetables,” and to gradually reduce the sodium content of…

Three studies recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) have answered the Institute of Medicine’s call for additional data on the effects of salt consumption on human health, raising questions about the relationships between sodium intake, blood pressure, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Relying on the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) cohort study that followed more than 150,000 adult participants from a selection of low-, middle- and high-income countries, two of the articles used urinary sodium and potassium excretion measurements to estimate dietary sodium consumption. One study reported that, despite previous research linking sodium intake to hypertension, the association between sodium and potassium excretion and blood pressure was “non-linear and most pronounced in persons consuming high salt diets, persons with hypertension, and older persons.” Andrew Mente, et al., “Association of Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion with Blood Pressure,” NEJM, August 2014. Looking at mortality and cardiovascular events, the second…

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