The American Public Health Association (APHA) has reportedly passed a resolution asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke salt’s status as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance within one year. According to the resolution, which was unanimously approved during APHA’s 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., the revocation of salt’s GRAS status would pave the way for FDA regulation and “substantially improve the cardiovascular health of the American public.”

Among other things, the resolution recommends that FDA (i) establish a schedule for food manufacturers and preparers to progressively lower sodium levels by 75 percent within the next 10 years; (ii) require front-of-package labels that clearly identify whether products contain high-, medium- or lowsodium levels; and (iii) require the food industry to use 2,300 milligrams (mg) as the current standard of calculating sodium daily values in processed foods and lower the daily values to 1,500 mg by 2017.  

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has applauded the measure. “Salt, in the amounts presently used in processed foods, is the single deadliest ingredient in the food supply, contributing to the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson said. “This has been widely acknowledged in the medical community for many years, but has been mostly ignored by food manufacturers and regulators. I hope that the American Public Health Association’s powerful recommendation spurs the Food and Drug Administration to act—at last.” See CSPI Press Release, November 1, 2011.