29th March (UPI) – The Food and Drug Administration is advancing a strategy to reduce salt in a multi-faceted agenda for healthy eating.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb outlined the agency's plans in a Thursday morning speech at the National Conference on Food Policy in Washington, DC, with a focus on efforts to reduce salt intake. He also gave updates on plans for better information on food packaging and how the FDA looks for ways to clarify content lists on the packaging.
The speech follows an announcement last Thursday that sets out a similar tobacco policy. The Healthy Eating Agenda he is discussing today builds on the efforts of ex-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
"As our efforts to reduce tobacco consumption, our work in nutrition can contribute much to reducing the burden of chronic diseases. We see death as a result of preventable diseases," said Gottlieb, who served as FDA representative last May had taken over. "It can also help break cycles of poor health, poor education and chronic disease complications that aggravate the burden of disease and shatter society by socio-economic criteria."
The FDA regulates 80 percent of the US food supply, directly targeting salt intake.
"There is no single more effective public health measure in terms of nutrition than the reduction of sodium in the diet," said Gottlieb. "Excess sodium in food leads to hypertension, which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks."
He noted that by reducing sodium intake by half a teaspoon per day, nearly 1
"And certain parts of our population, such as African Americans, are at higher risk for hypertension and develop it in previous years of life," he noted. "I am committed to promoting short-term voluntary sodium goals."
The FDA, he has proposed short-term, voluntary targets for sodium reduction in foods of 3,000 milligrams per day from the current average intake of more than 3400 milligrams.
"We intend to reconcile our approach with the dietary survey conducted by the national academies," he said. "I believe we can build broad support for our approach."
Gottlieb said the FDA will update its voluntary short-term sodium targets in 2019.
In 2016, the Obama administration has presented the draft voluntary reduction targets salt in nearly 150 food categories, including frozen pizza, snacks and canned olives
The dependence of Americans on salt could decrease, according to a survey of more than 172,000 Households between 2000 and 2014.
During this period The salinity of packaged food purchased by consumers decreased by 12 per cent and the salt content of packaged food and drink was reduced by almost 400 mg per day – by more than 2,300 mg to less than 2,000 mg per day. 19659002] The FDA is also considering changing the labeling so that consumers know they are consuming salt.
"We were asked to allow the use of alternative names for" potassium chloride "- to make it clear that this product is a salt – a" We are actively thinking about this request, "said Gottlieb.
Gottlieb said the concept could also cover other ingredients like "vitamin B6" instead of "pyridoxine" and "vitamin B12" instead of "cyanocobalamin" that people "can better understand what's in their food."
"Consumers want" clean labels "that are readable and understandable," he said. "Manufacturers take this consumer preference seriously, and the FDA also plays a role here. We are considering what changes could make the ingredient information more consumer-friendly. "
The FDA has also decided to distribute the Nutrition Facts Update from earlier First Lady Michelle Obama after a compliance deadline was delayed 18 months Food companies are starting to use the new labels, which include the disclosure of added sugars and a larger font for calorie content.
The FDA also plans to streamline its procedures for reviewing qualified health claims from industry priorities to those who based on the strongest science and could have major public health implications.
"These claims may indicate that a food component is at risk for a health-related condition, such as the relationship between folate and reducing the risk that a K He is born with certain birth defects, "he said. "One example of how such claims can make a difference is the ability of manufacturers to use a qualified health claim that links early peanut introduction in certain children with a reduced risk of developing peanut allergy."
Gottlieb said about three quarters of the US population has a diet that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy and healthier oils, while also exceeding the recommended daily intake of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.
He noted that 97 percent of American parents believe that childhood eating habits determine children's health for their lives, according to the National Child Health Survey, but only 17 percent say their child's diet is very healthy. In addition, nearly half of all parents have difficulty identifying which foods are actually healthy
"I am determined to promote and help our dietary work as a tool to reduce health inequalities and improve the lives of all Americans live freer from the burden of preventable diseases, "said Gottlieb.