The Food and Drug Administration is looking to significantly reduce the amount of sodium in the food Americans consume.
The FDA wants to drop the amount of salt placed in food by 12 percent, the New York Post reports. And the administration is giving food companies a little over two years to do it. “What we’d like to see is the food industry gradually lower the sodium content,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock told NBC in an interview.
The No.1 cause of premature deaths in the country is heart disease, which can result from a heavy intake of salt. Woodcock says that lowering the amount of sodium in food “would have a major impact on hypertension, heart disease and stroke.”
Currently, the limit suggested for sodium intake is no more than 2,300 milligrams or one teaspoon per day. However, the national average is about 3,400 milligrams of sodium, the New York Post reports.
Restaurants wouldn’t be required to comply with the rule but, the FDA is offering a “reward” if they do. Right now, there are no details on what the prize is. Dr. Sean Heffron, a preventative cardiologist at NYU Langone Health’s Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, says the FDA’s stance is “pretty exciting.”
“The cardiovascular community [has] for a long time advocated for Americans to reduce their salt and sodium consumption, and the vast majority of that comes from processed, packaged foods consumed outside the home,” Heffron told the news outlet.