The Food & Drug Administration is planning a multi-year effort to slowly reduce Americans' salt consumption by limiting the amount of salt in processed foods, reports the Washington Post. The average American's sodium intake is over 1,000 milligrams higher than that recommended by the FDA, and an astonishing 77 percent of that intake comes from processed foods.
Currently, processed food manufacturers use as much salt as they please, since salt falls into the category of food additives "generally recognized as safe." But given rising concerns about the seasoning's health risk and Americans' salt consumption, the FDA wants to put the whole country on a low-sodium diet. "We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people," said an FDA spokesperson. The plan is to reduce sodium levels gradually over ten years so that consumers won't notice the difference. (New York City introduced a plan last fall to reduce salt in processed and restaurant foods by 25 percent over five years.) Salt producers, for one, are not happy. One lobbyist said regulation "would be a disaster for the public."