Hold the Salt


OTTAWA — After two-and-a-half years of deliberation, the Sodium Working Group has mapped out guidelines for foodservice providers to follow to reduce salt output in Canada.

Health experts recommend that the average person consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, but reports show that Canadians ingest almost three times that amount — in large part due to added sodium in processed foods.

With foodservice operators onboard, the task force aims to reduce the Nutrition Facts table’s “daily value” for sodium from 2,400 mg to 1,500 mg, mandate standardized serving sizes as the basis for reporting nutrition information, require restaurants to label menu items and set sodium- reduction targets for food.

The voluntary initiative, experts believe, could help reduce high rates of stroke, heart attacks, high blood pressure and even cancer. But while industry insiders — including the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Campbell Company of Canada and the Food & Consumer Products of Canada — have pledged their support, some speculate that the transition will be difficult.

“It would be folly not to caution that we are going into uncharted territories, and while the food manufacturing industry is definitely committed to working with the working group to bring sodium levels down in the Canadian diet, it is going to take a concerted effort,” Phyllis Tanaka, vice-president of scientific and regulatory affairs for food policy with Food and Consumer Products of Canada, is quoted as saying by The Globe and Mail.


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