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Article about high sodium foods may cause alarm for readers

By Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D.
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009

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Washington, DC - The Jan. 4 article “Consumer Reports identifies foods that have surprisingly high levels of sodium” may cause unnecessary alarm for your readers.

Sodium is a naturally occurring nutrient found in a variety of foods and beverages, including drinking water, and is essential for health and life. The FDA has approved salt as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS, following a thorough and strict review of the ingredient.

Just like any individual ingredient, sodium should be enjoyed in moderation. Excessive levels of dietary sodium have the potential to impact blood pressure and salt-sensitive individuals may benefit from decreased sodium consumption.

Reducing sodium in products without affecting taste or consumer acceptance is not an easy task. In addition, salt and sodium play a vital role in food preservation and great care must be taken to ensure that changes do not compromise food safety. Research is needed to understand the unique sensory reception properties of sodium and salt and then apply that understanding to finding acceptable substitutes.

The food and beverage industry is committed to helping consumers find ways to meet the recommended daily limit of sodium set in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, and we will continue to monitor research and regulatory developments to ensure consumer confidence in all of our products.

Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D.,
Senior Vice President and Chief Science & Regulatory Affairs Officer, Grocery Manufacturers Association
Former Director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
1350 I. St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

 
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