Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Salt Institute: Government’s war on salt is malpractice

Naples, FL- The issuance today of new “voluntary” sodium reduction mandates by the FDA is tantamount to malpractice and inexcusable in the face of years of scientific evidence showing that population-wide sodium reduction strategies are unnecessary and could be harmful. This effort will limit the food choices of Americans, not increase them as the FDA claims. It will make our food less safe and endanger public health.

The FDA’s Dietary Guidelines Committee has repeatedly ignored a loud chorus of researchers who advise that population-wide sodium reduction is unnecessary and/or potentially harmful. Three Cochrane Collaboration reviews conclude that there is insufficient evidence to warrant population-wide salt reduction. The FDA is also completely ignoring their own CDC-sponsored 2013 Institute of Medicine report that specifically did not support sodium reduction.

Contrary to the government’s recommendations, evidence indicates people on low sodium diets place themselves at risk. The government disregarded peer-reviewed research showing that low-salt diets can lead to insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular events, iodine deficiency, loss of cognition, low birth weights, and higher rates of death. Studies show dangerous side effects from lowering sodium below 3,000 mg/day.

It is unacceptable that federal government officials chose to ignore strong evidence from multiple researchers that indicates people on low sodium diets have an increased risk of cardiovascular death. Dr. Michael Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and former President of the American Society of Hypertension, has repeatedly cited his concern that a population-wide sodium reduction campaign could have unintended consequences. “They want to do an experiment on a whole population without a good control,” Alderman says.

The government’s recommendations are so unnaturally low those consumption levels are unheard of in any country in the world. The Guidelines of 2,300 mg/day of sodium are drastically lower than the world average of 3,600 mg/day. A study of almost 20,000 people in 33 countries shows the normal range of consumption is 2,800 to 4,800 mg/day. This is constant regardless of where people get their food, either from home cooked meals or prepackaged meals and restaurants.

The latest evidence demonstrates that there is a safe “range” of salt consumption that results in a lower risk to the overall population. According to this research, the lower end of this safe range begins around 3,000 mg and extends upwards of 5,000 mg sodium per day. Americans consume about 3,400 mg sodium on average – at the lower end of this safe range.

Most recently researchers from McMaster University’s School of Medicine, found that people on low sodium diets have an increased risk of cardiovascular death. This study, which analyzed over 100,000 participants in dozens of countries, was no fluke but part of a growing body of research warning against sodium reduction efforts.

The history of government issued “voluntary” sodium reduction targets in other countries shows that they are an abject failure. Food producers are placed under intense pressure to abide by the arbitrary limits despite the use of the term “voluntary” and even when food producers do manage to safely lower the sodium in their foods they almost never meet the targets. Even when they do this does not in fact reduce population wide sodium consumption as the body naturally craves a certain amount of sodium to maintain optimum health. Consumers simply add in more of their own table salt or consume more food to make up the sodium deficiency, worsening the obesity epidemic.

Most disturbing however is the statement made by Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, denying that there is any evidence to the contrary of the FDA’s position. This is an attack on science itself as well as common sense.

Americans should be extremely skeptical. It is difficult to imagine a more flawed process and outcome than the Dietary Guidelines on sodium. The medical world, media and public are increasingly questioning the faulty recommendations. Hopefully the growing outcry will force the government to right this wrong before more people are harmed. Meanwhile, regulations and actions based on the faulty guidelines should be dismissed for what they are—malpractice.

Salt Institute letter to USDA/HHS with references

The IOM report that the government wants to pretend doesn’t exist

Operation Peanut Butter Game Promotes Math, Social Science Skills

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 2016 – The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the National Peanut Board, along with state peanut producer and industry organizations, have launched a new My American Farm game geared for students in grades 3-5. Playing the Operation Peanut Butter game online allows students to follow peanuts from the field to the peanut butter on their sandwiches.

“While playing Operation Peanut Butter, students will have the chance to not only learn about the production of peanut butter, but also the value that peanut butter has as an ideal food to feed the hungry because of its protein content and long shelf life,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the Foundation. “Along with the game, we’ve also created a lesson plan that will allow students to dive deeper into the role peanuts play in the nitrogen cycle,” she added.
In addition to science, math and social science skills, students will also have the opportunity to enhance their English Language Arts skills by reading about peanuts while playing the game.
“We are proud to debut this educational online resource as an enjoyable way for children to learn where their food comes from. Discovering how peanuts are grown, harvested and processed connects us all to the nutritious and delicious qualities of peanuts and peanut butter,” said Cathy Johnson, marketing and communications associate at the National Peanut Board.

The Operation Peanut Butter game, lesson plan and activity sheet, along with other agricultural-based learning resources, are available at
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture was founded in 1967 and works to educate the public about the importance of agriculture and reconnect them with the people who grow their food through educational outreach and learning resources.
The National Peanut Board was founded in 2001 and is funded by America’s 7,000 peanut farming families. The board funds production research, stimulates new uses for U.S.-grown peanuts and drives demand for the commodity.
The My American Farm educational resource is a special project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The site and resources are made possible through the generous support of title sponsor, DuPont Pioneer. To take advantage of the free My American Farm resources, games and activities, visit

FDA Issues Draft Guidance to Industry for Voluntarily Reducing Sodium

June 1, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued draft guidance for public comment that provides voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry. The draft short-term (2-year) targets seek to decrease sodium intake to about 3,000 mg per day. The long-term (10-year) targets seek to reduce sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. The targets, which cover nearly 150 food categories, are intended to complement many existing efforts by food manufacturers, restaurants and food service operations to reduce sodium in foods.
Americans consume almost 50 percent more sodium than what most experts recommend. One in three individuals has high blood pressure, which has been linked to diets high in sodium and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The majority of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods.
The comment period on this draft guidance opens June 2, 2016. Although comments are accepted at any time, to ensure that the agency considers comments on this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit comments within 90 days (by August 31, 2016) on Issues 1 through 4 listed in section IV of the notice announcing the availability of the draft guidance and within 150 days (by October 31, 2016) on Issues 5 through 8 listed in section IV of this notice. Submit electronic comments to Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number FDA-2014-D-0055, as listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register