For Immediate Release: June 21, 2018
Jorge Amselle: Jorge@saltinstitute.org
Park City, Utah—Nutritional information from government sources is supposed to be science based but we are increasingly learning that this doesn’t apply to salt. This message was clearly delivered today at the 2018 World Salt Symposium by Mort Satin, Vice President for Science and Research at The Salt Institute.
“In June 2016, the highest public health authority in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued voluntary standards for the reduction of salt in a large range of common processed foods, despite all of the available evidence” said Satin, a molecular biologist and former United Nations executive. “While this action is being called ‘voluntary’ it is a rather misanthropic bureaucratic tool to pressure the food industry. Few companies will have the courage to be ‘named and shamed’ for not ‘volunteering’ to follow a government public health recommendation, even if it is acknowledged to be incorrect,” he added.
FDA’s actions occur after more than a century of debate over the role of salt in human health, and at a time when the overwhelming medical evidence make it clear that salt reduction in the US diet is not only unnecessary but could pose a greater risk to many consumers.
Panelist Dr. Jan Staessen, who leads the Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Belgium said, “The evidence relating blood pressure to salt intake does not translate into an increased risk of incident hypertension in people consuming a usual salt diet. Of US adults, only 9 percent currently consume less than 2,300 mg/day and just 0.6 percent have a sodium intake of less than 1,500 mg/day, rendering current sodium recommendations the most aggressive lifestyle intervention ever planned in the history of mankind.”
“The voluntary reductions recommended by FDA were based on the myths that; 1) Americans eat more salt than ever; 2) salt consumption leads to hypertension; 3) Americans could massively reduce their salt consumption without any negative health consequences; 4) the methodology employed to demonstrate the role of salt in health was sound, and; 5) the US population would gain significant health benefits from major population-wide salt reduction. None of these are true. The highly political nature of the global salt-reduction campaign, including every public health institution from World Health Organization (WHO) to national, state and local public health departments, makes population-wide salt reduction the greatest myth in the history of modern public health,” said Satin.
The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.