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An overview of sodium reduction policy in the United States and its impact on the food industry


Dec 29, 2019

Salt is not only essential for sustaining human life, but it is also a functional ingredient. The sodium and chloride ions are used in food products to control microbial growth that can lead to food spoilage and cause illness. Salt is also used to enhance flavor, texture, leavening, and fermentation. The human body needs only a small amount of salt to properly function. Consuming excessive amounts of sodium has been correlated to adverse health effects including cardiovascular disease, cancer and high blood pressure. Most sodium in the American diet is derived from manufactured or processed foods. Only a small portion of the salt in the American diet is from adding salt as a seasoning to prepared Americans are overconsuming salt in their daily diet. Over the past fifty years, the U.S. government has established policies to help Americans reduce sodium in their diets. Federal governmental policy has been influenced by the actions of non-governmental organizations and local governments. Reducing sodium in the American diet will prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and illnesses. Food manufacturers are tasked with reducing sodium in their product, without compromising the quality attributes consumers expect. There are several strategies used to remove sodium from manufactured food products and maintain functionality. These strategies include stealth reduction, adjusted processing techniques, modified salt crystal structures, and salt substitutes. Large food manufacturers have made commitments to achieve these goals. Some manufacturers have been able to achieve their commitments, while others are still in progress. Sodium reduction strategies are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the application, some strategies work better than others. Although removing sodium from the diet will benefit Americans from both an economic and public health standpoint, it will be challenging for food manufacturers

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