US announces sodium reduction targets, Australia needs to follow

The George Institute welcomes the US Food and Drug Administration's recent announcement of their draft voluntary reduction targets for the food industry to reduce the amount of sodium and salt in American packaged foods and restaurants.

With excess salt being a major cause of health problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke, the move has also been praised by other advocacy groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who claim these reductions in consumption could save tens of thousands of lives each year, as well as billions of dollars in medical expenses.

Dr Jacqui Webster of The George Institute and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Population Salt Reduction, welcomed the announcement and encouraged Australia to adopt similar measures.

“The George Institute has been advocating for Australia to establish similar targets since 2007,” said Dr Webster. “So far targets have been established by the previous Food and Health Dialogue for nine product categories, which have led to an important start in salt reduction in bread, breakfast and processed meats.

“Current initiatives like the Healthy Food Partnership, Health Star Ratings, and the VicHealth Salt Partnership also have the potential to contribute to national salt reduction efforts.

“However, Australia has an opportunity to lift its game to keep up with other countries such as the US, UK and Ireland, with national coordinated action and to make sure it is on track to achieve the global target of a 30% reduction by 2025.”

Read more about the US FDA targets.