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Group Wants FDA to Cut Salt in Foods

Too Much Sodium Linked to High Blood Pressure, Experts Say

Voluntary Cuts in Sodium

Representatives of the food industry said companies have succeeded in voluntarily cutting unnecessary sodium out of their products. They warned that consumers were driven away from products when companies previously experimented with quickly removing salt.

"Improvement in the health of Americans is best achieved through education to modify behaviors ... rather than single policies on individual ingredients," said Robert Earl, senior director of nutrition policy for the Grocery Manufacturers Association -- Food Products Association.

Jacobson said that industry efforts to cut sodium have occurred but that they have been too gradual. The CSPI tracked 71 grocery store products and found that they dropped about 0.5% per year between 1984 and 2004. At that rate, Jacobson said it would take 100 years to cut average sodium intake by 50%.

Several government and private groups, including the American Medical Association, have recommended such a cut take place over the next decade.

"I don't think we have that long to wait," Jacobson said.

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