US FDA seeks to allow salt substitutes in everyday foods

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[March 25, 2023]  (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday said it was proposing a rule to allow the use of salt substitutes in everyday foods including cheese, frozen peas and canned tuna, in a bid to cut Americans' salt consumption.

The FDA had in 2021 set a new voluntary goal for manufacturers and chain restaurants to cut salt levels by an average of 12% in packaged foods, because excessive salt consumption has been linked to high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

"Most people in the U.S. consume too much sodium. The majority of sodium consumed comes from processed, packaged and prepared foods, not from salt people add to their food when cooking or eating," said Susan Mayne, the director of FDA's food safety and nutrition division.

Friday's proposed rule looks to change the FDA's "standards of identity" (SOI) for over 20 items, ranging from cheese to cereal flour.

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A packet of table salt is pictured in this illustration following the Food and Drug Administration's new guidelines for sodium intake in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 13, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Illustration

The SOIs list ingredients that standardized foods must contain, and which ingredients are optional.

(Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)

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