The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued a recommendation for reduced salt in commercial food products, citing a growing epidemic of preventable, diet-related conditions in the country.
High sodium intake has long been linked to high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.
The FDA guideline provides voluntary short-term sodium reduction targets for food manufacturers, chain restaurants and food service operators across more than 150 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods.
The agency said on average 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day is consumed in the United States. The guideline released on Wednesday seeks to decrease average sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day, about a 12% reduction, over the next two and half years.
Still, the average intake would be above the Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recommended limit of 2,300 mg per day for those 14 and older.
According to the FDA, more than 70% of total sodium intake is from salt added during food manufacturing and commercial food preparation.
The agency said the public health benefit of limiting sodium intake is estimated by researchers to result in tens of thousands fewer cases of heart disease and strokes each year, as well as billions of dollars in healthcare savings over time.
(Reporting by Oishee Majumdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Bernard Orr) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))