IOM demands new standards for salt

by Editor
Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should set new federal standards for salt added to processed and prepared foods according to a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.

IOM said FDA should modify salt’s generally recognised as safe (GRAS) status and set new product by product standards. According to Committee Chair Jane E. Henney, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, IOM is recommending a step-wise reduction approach to prevent Americans from rejecting products in which sodium is reduced too dramatically, too quickly.

IOM said that Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium — the amount in about 1.5 teaspoons of salt — each day. The recommended maximum daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day for adults, about 1 teaspoon of salt.

In response, AMI Director of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren said stated that the IOM report ignores the complexity of the issue. According to Booren, manufacturers must carefully weigh palatability issues, safety concerns and long-established taste preferences. Booren also expressed strong concern about the IOM recommendation to change salt’s longstanding GRAS status, which allows an ingredient to be used in foods without seeking special permission.

Copies of the report are available here.