The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will issue a proposal to the food industry aimed at encouraging voluntary sodium reductions in products. That’s good news, wrote Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in a June 18 New York Daily News editorial. The average American consumes far more sodium each day than government-recommended limits—which are 2,300 mg for most people and 1,500 mg for higher-risk groups—and much of that comes hidden in processed, packaged, and restaurant foods.

Mozaffarian called for the new proposal to include strong targets for sodium reduction and the “teeth” to impose mandatory limits if voluntary targets are not met. This is not “nanny state” government overreach, he wrote. “Whether considering lead in paint, deaths from car crashes, arsenic in water, or bacteria in meat, it is the government’s role to protect Americans’ health. Sodium is no different—indeed, it causes larger health burdens than many issues the government already oversees.”

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