The Food and Drug Administration is urging the food industry to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in products amid a "growing epidemic of preventable, diet-related conditions," the agency announced in updated guidance Wednesday. The new recommendations seek to decrease the nation's average sodium consumption by 12% over the next two and a half years.
"Limiting certain nutrients, such as sodium, in our diets plays a crucial role in preventing diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular disease that disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority groups," the FDA said in a statement. "These diseases often result in hundreds of thousands of lives lost and billions in annual health care costs."
According to the FDA, Americans on average consume nearly 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is more than 1,000 milligrams above the amount recommended for those age 14 years and older. Nearly 70% of sodium intake comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, the agency said.