The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to be America’s nutritionist and control what we eat. Last November, the agency published a proposal to ban artificial trans fat—an unprecedented intrusion into food choices. The FDA also has sodium in its sights, specifically sodium added to food.
The agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s “Plan for Program Priorities, 2013-2014” includes the following objectives:
- “Advance plan for promoting broad, gradual reduction of added sodium in the food supply.”
- “Complete a plan for implementation in 2015 to promote broad, gradual reduction of added sodium in the food supply.”
The FDA also lists its trans fat objectives:
- “Advance plan to further reduce the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of industrially-produced trans fat in the food supply.”
- “Complete plan to further reduce the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of industrially-produced trans fat in the food supply.”
No mention is made of a ban on added sodium, but there’s also no mention of a ban on trans fat.
For practical reasons alone, a ban on added sodium is unlikely. While it isn’t clear what agency action will be involved when it comes to added sodium, the action is likely to be significant. The FDA has already been looking into regulating sodium.
On the FDA website, the agency explains, “FDA has not exercised its regulatory authority to limit the amount of salt added to processed foods; however, the agency is conducting research in this area.”
The agency sponsored an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. The primary recommendation in the report was that the “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should expeditiously initiate a process to set a mandatory national standards [sic] for the sodium content of foods.”
After the trans fat ban, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the FDA is extreme when it comes to taking action on added sodium.