Canadian Study on Salt in Packaged Foods
JPA members were previously notified of an initiative undertaken by Canada to lower the sodium content in the diets of Canadians from a level of 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 2,300 mg by 2016. In 2012, Health Canada issued a guidance document, “Guidance for the Food Industry on Reducing Sodium in Processed Foods,” outlining proposed sodium reduction strategies and voluntary sodium reduction targets for processed foods.
According to an article recently published online by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Ontario Institute of Technology published a study, which analyzed the sodium content of packaged foods from 2010 – 2013 using the Nutrition Facts table. The purpose of the study, “Examination of food industry progress in reducing the sodium content of packaged foods in Canada: 2010 to 2013,” was to assess changes in sodium content over time, determine changes in sodium levels within food categories, assess the proportion of food categories that have had changes in sodium, and examine food industry progress in achieving Health Canada’s sodium reduction targets. The following categories of foods were analyzed: Canned vegetables and legumes (e.g., vegetable juices and cocktails); Fat and oils; Sauces, dips, gravies, and condiments; Bakery products; Breakfast cereal; Cheese; Fish and seafood; Mixed dishes; Meat and meat substitutes; Soup; and Snacks.
The study includes two Supplementary Tables, which can be accessed here. Supplementary Table S1, “Changes in sodium levels in Canadian packaged foods from 2010 to 2013,” includes the complete list of products in each category (subcategories) with the corresponding sodium levels. Supplementary Table S2, “Changes in the proportion of foods meeting Health Canada benchmark targets for sodium reduction,” details progress toward achieving the sodium reduction targets for each category.
Details of the study’s findings follow.
- 16.2 percent of food categories had statistically significant reductions in sodium.
- 1.9 percent of food categories had statistically significant increases in sodium.
- 81.9 percent of food categories had no change in sodium.
- Overall, there was an increase in the proportion of foods meeting one of Health Canada’s sodium benchmark targets, from 51.4% in 2010 to 58.2% in 2013, and a reduction in the proportion of foods exceeding Health Canada’s
maximum benchmark level (25.2% to 20.8%).
The researchers analyzed the salt content in vegetable juices and cocktails, which showed a decrease in sodium content (-12.4 percent) from 2010 to 2013.
According to the researchers, “Though some progress has been made in various sectors, this data supports the need for continued efforts by the food industry in lowering the sodium content of packaged food items and for continued monitoring of this progress as foods are reformulated to meet the 2016 benchmark targets.”
FDA Public Meetings on Import Safety
Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an FDA Update, below, announcing three public meetings will be held in June 2016 related to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) food import safety requirements. In March 2016, the Agency held a public meeting to provide importers and other interested parties an opportunity to discuss import safety regulations and programs, including final rules for foreign supplier verification programs for importers of food and accreditation of third-party certification bodies. The Agency will publish details regarding the three meetings via the Federal Register in the near future.
Public Meetings on Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Prevention-Oriented Import Safety Programs
Dates & Locations:
- Tuesday, June 7, 2016 (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
The Hilton Costa Mesa
3050 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
- Wednesday, June 15, 2016 (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel
801 Rutherford Avenue
Rutherford, NJ 07070
- Tuesday, June 21, 2016 (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit – Downtown Fort Shelby
525 W Lafayette Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226
Vermont GE Food Labeling Law
According to an article published in the April 27, 2016 edition of Food Chemical News, Vermont is considering an amendment to the genetically engineered (GE) food labeling law that would delay the right of consumers to file suit if they find products on the store shelves that are mislabeled. The article notes when the law enters into effect on July 1, 2016, citizen lawsuits are currently permitted. The Vermont Senate’s budget bill contains language that would delay the lawsuits for one year. According to the Senate Appropriations Chair Jane Kitchel, the provision is aimed at protecting small retailers and would provide some relief for food manufacturers and retailers worried about the law’s private cause of action. The House version of the budget bill did not contain the provision and as such, the issue will have to be reconciled in conference.