U.S. health officials recommended cutting the amount of salt added to foods to help Americans reduce their sodium consumption by about a third, according to proposed guidelines that are likely to have a wide-ranging impact on the processed food industry in the U.S.
Increased sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke—two major causes of death in the U.S.
Average sodium intake in the U.S. is about 3,400 mg per day. The regulator said the guidelines set targets for the food industry to help reduce sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day, which is the amount of sodium in one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt.
When sodium intake increases, blood pressure rises, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke—two leading causes of death in the U.S., the FDA said.
The health agency said the voluntary guidelines would apply to major food manufacturers and restaurants.
About half of every food dollar goes to food consumed outside the home, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Many U.S. food companies, including Campbell Soup Co., General Mills Inc., and Kraft Heinz Co., have already cut salt levels to some extent in anticipation of the guidelines, which have been in the works since 2011.
The FDA said it encouraged feedback over a stipulated comment period that ranges from 90 days to 150 days.
The guidelines come days after the FDA said it plans a major overhaul of the way packaged foods are labeled to reflect the amount of added sugar and specific serving sizes.