With Thanksgiving now upon us, the holiday season has well and truly arrived.
This not being a diet blog, I will most likely be indulging with the best of
them. Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

However, while the marketers are encouraging us to stuff it all in (if you’re
UK based, like me, ‘this is not just food…’, after all), the media at
large are busy reminding us just how much fat, salt and potential foodborne
pathogens we will be putting away over the party season.

The New
York Times
kicked off the annual scare-fest with a reminder that the US
food industry may not be policing its use of salt as rigorously as the medical
profession would like it to. In a hearing scheduled for next week – one week
after Thanksgiving – the Center for Science in
the Public Interest
and the American
Medical Association
will put forward their case to the Food
and Drug Administration
. They believe that the FDA and the US government in
putting far too little pressure on the food industry to cut the levels of salt
found in processed foods. Although the New York Times was keen to point
that the industry itself has already been in talks with the CSPI behind closed
doors, that the amount of salt added to processed foods is, by and large,
inching its way down and that major manufacturers like ConAgra, who produce some
brands that are very popular with kids were well aware of the issue and are
actively reducing salt levels in their products.

Other foods, according to the CSPI are letting the side down. Sliced cheese
and frozen pizza were singled out for particular criticism.

So what’s to be done? The US could embark on a public information strategy
like the UK’s ‘Full of It‘ campaign. In
Finland, ‘high-salt’ labels on food may be responsible for the nation’s average
sodium intake having dropped by 40% over the past 30 years, as has the incidence
of strokes. The World Health Organisation
has also intervened, calling on the world’s food processors to act responsible
and reduce the use of salt and encouraging governments to educate consumers.
Everyone’s in on the action and it’s only a matter of time before the US makes a
decisive move.

Need more info on salt, food and health? CAB Abstracts really is ‘Full of it’!

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