Target: Michael Taylor, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the FDA
Goal: Tell FDA to start slowly taking salt out of our diets
In the past, attempts at taking salt out of American diets have failed. Campbell’s, the popular soup company, tried selling low-sodium soups — but by removing salt, they also were removing taste. People right now have a high “sweet spot” for how much salt they crave. Campbell’s lowered the amount of sodium in the soups too drastically, and people felt as though there was a lack of flavor.
This sort of tactic — significantly lowering the amount of sodium, and then presenting it as a healthier option — has been tried by several food companies. However, it has failed every time. People on the whole, particularly Americans, simply have too high of a taste for salt. Most consumers do not even fully realize how much salt they are eating. This is because the majority of salt consumed comes from processed foods, not from the table shaker. People do not actively seek out sodium; it is just a part of the food that most people eat. Their tolerance for salt is raised without them even realizing.
Food companies have good reason for raising salt levels. It makes food taste better, people obviously like it, and it increases the shelf life of foods. However, salt is also linked to high blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease. It is in the best interests of consumers to eat less salt.
Therefore, today, we call on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin the gradual reduction of salt in processed foods. This idea is working right now in the United Kingdom. Drastically reducing salt does not work, but gradual reduction does. If food companies take out a couple of grams of salt from a food item, people do not generally notice. If this is done for many process foods, people will be eating less salt to a significant degree. Over time, even more salt can be taken out of foods, and eventually, our set point for salt will be lower. It is possible for us to decrease our dependence on salt, and it must be done.
Please sign the petition below and urge the FDA to start this process.
Dear Commissioner Taylor,
The history of processed foods is inextricably linked with salt. The ingredient covers any imperfect tastes, increases the shelf life of the product, and in generally makes food taste better. However, because of all these benefits, we now have a salt crisis. Americans are eating an outrageous amount of salt every day because of all the processed food we eat. Consuming too much sodium leads to high blood pressure and to heart disease.
We are writing to you today so that you may consider gradually reducing the amount of salt in people’s food. It is working in the United Kingdom, and could very well work here. If we slowly reduce the amount of salt in many processed foods, people will overall be healthier, without noticing a difference in taste. We hope you consider this possibility to deal with the salt problem.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SoraZG via Wikimedia Commons