July 24, 2019— New research, published in The Milbank Quarterly, highlights the potential health and economic impact of the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed voluntary salt policy on workers in the US food industry.
Excess salt consumption is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Globally, more than 1.5 million CVD related deaths every year can be attributed to excess dietary salt intake.
The World Health Organization has recommended sodium reduction as a "best buy" to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set voluntary targets for food industry to reduce sodium in processed foods.
In a previous study, researchers from the University of Liverpool, Imperial College London, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and collaborators as part of the Food-PRICE project, found that for the whole US population the optimal reformulation scenario, 100% compliance with the 10-year FDA targets, could prevent approximately 450,000 CVD cases, gain 2 million Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and produce discounted cost savings of approximately $40 billion over a 20 year period.
Despite this, Congress has temporarily blocked the FDA from implementing voluntary industry targets for sodium reduction in processed foods, the implementation of which could cost the industry around $16 billion over 10 years.
This new study examined the impact of the policy on the food industry itself to determine the cost effectiveness of meeting these draft sodium targets.