New Study Challenges Voluntary Sodium-Reduction Plans


OTTAWA — A recent study in Australia’s Heart Medical Journal questions the validity of voluntary sodium reduction strategies.

The study reveals that voluntary salt-reduction guidelines and dietary advice reduce potential salt-related health complications, such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, by a little under and over one per cent, respectively. In contrast, it found mandatory government guidelines for foodservice producers could cut related health problems by about 18 per cent.

“Food manufacturers have a responsibility to make money for their shareholders, but they also have a responsibility to society,” reads the report. “If corporate responsibility fails, maybe there is an ethical justification for government to step in and legislate.”

The news is challenging food for thought in Canada, where the Sodium Working Group taskforce is working to produce voluntary guidelines for foodservice operators to help Canadians reduce their salt intake. Though the taskforce aims to have its agenda voluntarily adopted by 2016, asking the government to mandate its guidelines in the future hasn’t been ruled out.


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