ABA calls FDA’s 10-year sodium reduction guidance ‘premature’

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

FDA plans to reduce US sodium consumption to 2,300mg per day in 10 years.  Photo: iStock/Anthonyjhall
FDA plans to reduce US sodium consumption to 2,300mg per day in 10 years. Photo: iStock/Anthonyjhall

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The American Bakers Association (ABA) has sent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a letter, complaining that the agency’s 10-year sodium reduction targets will negatively impact baked goods.

The FDA is concerned that the majority of sodium consumed comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker, according to its website. It noted that Americans consume on average 3,400mg of sodium per day, nearly 50% more than the 2,300mg limit recommended by federal guidelines.

The agency later carried out a 10 year plan that would reduce sodium consumption to about 2,300mg per day, 700mg less than its short-term two year target.

ABA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, Lee Sanders, told BakeryandSnacks they used the same rational to respond to both sets of comments based on feedback from their membership.

“We are aware that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently reviewing the Daily Reference Intake (DRI) for sodium … therefore, it is premature for FDA to finalize guidance on sodium,”​ ABA said in the letter​.

It added the “aggressive”​ reductions in sodium may have significant and unpredictable effects for bakery products.

“We caution against any reductions that could impact the shelf stability, functionality and physical properties, taste and flavor, consumer acceptance and price of baked goods, which are particularly dependent on sodium to achieve,”​ ABA said.

Five year extension

Sanders warned the best technology available now for sodium alternatives is cost prohibitive for large industrial production.

“ABA also asked the FDA for additional time for implementation, ideally five years, for these deeper reductions to allow for alternative technology and market supply to become available for the marketplace,”​ she added.

FDA decided not to comment on ABA’s letter. It said it is considering all substantive comments received on the draft guidance on voluntary sodium reduction.

“The FDA wants to work with food companies and restaurants to gradually adjust sodium levels in food and appreciates input such as the letter from the American Baker’s Association,”​ the agency said.

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