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 percent of
consumption; instead, the majority of the average American’s salt intake is consumed via processed foods and restaurant food, CSPI argues. The
organization asserts that the use of salt in food has resulted in “widespread”
hypertension and pre-hypertension diagnoses.

Since CSPI filed its petition, FDA has held a public hearing and multiple
comment periods about the use of salt and effects of sodium on health
but has not issued any guidance or regulations, the complaint says. “For
more than 35 years, FDA has dragged its feet and refused to do anything
to protect Americans from excess sodium in the food supply,” CSPI
Executive Director Michael Jacobson said in an October 8, 2015, press
release. “The government’s inaction condemns hundreds of thousands of
Americans to early deaths due to preventable strokes and heart attacks.”

 

Issue 581

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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