April 3, 2013
WASHINGTONFood industry leaders, health professionals and government officials were brought together by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), along with nutrition advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on April 1, 2013, in the nations capital to discuss the progress and challenges of reducing sodium content in food products to further efforts in helping consumers meet the 2010 Dietary Guidelines of 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
The one-day meeting, "Getting 2,300: A progress Report and Opportunities for Further Progress," discussed topics, including the progress being made by the industry at achieving sodium reduction in products, opportunities for continuing this progress and the technical challenges of achieving these reductions without sacrificing consumer acceptance.
As discussed in the meeting, food and beverage manufacturers are making efforts to provide consumers with product choices needed to achieve optimal sodium intake levels.
"For years food companies have been introducing new products into the marketplace containing lower sodium, or with no added salt," said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. She mentioned although progress is being made, it's not easy to reduce sodium in products without affecting taste or consumer acceptancea factor that should always be considered.
Michael F. Jacobson, CSPI executive director, pointed out public health officials and many food industry executives are unsatisfied with the sodium status quo.
"Its encouraging that some of the major manufacturers and restaurants are taking the problem seriously, sponsoring research and actually lowering sodium levels in their products," he said.
"Restaurants have made significant progress in developing lower sodium menu options for patrons," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Such industry efforts will enable the gradual reduction of sodium in the food supply which will lead to the goal of reducing sodium consumption of consumers.
The meeting was a follow-up discussion to a joint conference sponsored by GMA and CSPI in 2007 focused on looking at ways to help consumers lower sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day.
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