GMA weighs in on sodium reduction targets

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, in comments submitted to the FDA regarding its sodium reduction guidelines, has recommended that categories be streamlined and the timeline to meet short-term reduction goals be extended from two to four years.

In June, the FDA issued draft sodium reduction targets for 150 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods including two-year and 10-year goals for the industry that are intended to help Americans gradually reduce sodium intake from the current average of 3,400 mg per day to 3,000 mg per day and eventually 2,300 mg per day, respectively. Monday was the deadline for comments on this draft guidance.

GMA suggested that some categories be divided and others merged.

“Most of the draft categories are composed of products with similar functional roles for sodium. GMA recommends that some be subdivided based on the different roles that sodium plays within the category. Additionally, we recommend that other categories be merged to decrease complexity and account for consumer use,” it said in its comments.

It also recommends that the timeline for the short-term reduction goal be doubled.

“The two-year target is not a realistic interval as some reformulations can take longer than two years, especially when safety is a factor,” said the GMA in its comments. “Others present considerable challenges due to the absence of available technologies to replace the functional roles of sodium and the need to move consumers gradually to accept a different taste profile. This is especially true for iconic products in the marketplace for which consumers have specific taste expectations. In these instances, alternative goals are proposed.”

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