ARCHIVED Rationale and Criteria Used for Creating the Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Targets for Group 1 Foods (February 2010)
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On September 28 and 29, 2009, the Sodium Working Group (SWG) members agreed to recommend an interim goal of reducing the average sodium intake of Canadians to 2300 mg per day. This intake corresponds to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of sodium for people aged 14 and over, set by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM). Reaching this interim goal would entail a five per cent reduction per year, over 6 years, starting in 2010. This amounts to a total reduction of 30% in the average amount of sodium consumed by Canadians, currently estimated at 3,400 mg per day, which includes salt added to food during food preparation at home and at the table.
The proposed sodium reduction targets are intended to be the maximum level for which all foods within each category should be below by 2016. Progress towards reaching the overall sodium intake goal of 2300mg/day, as well the sodium reduction targets, will be monitored regularly. If considered necessary, based on the monitoring data, the sodium reduction targets will be revised.
As a result of achieving the proposed targets, it is expected that the actual average sodium levels across a given food category will be below the target. Health Canada encourages manufacturers to lower the sodium content of their products gradually over time to the lowest level possible, taking into consideration food safety, quality and consumer acceptance.
To set the Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Targets, the following criteria were used:
Sodium targets should be voluntary, significant (reduction in sodium content in foods and in sodium intake levels of Canadians), gradual, realistic, feasible, measurable and sustainable. The targets apply to all products in a category, regardless of price. Special attention should be paid to lowering the sodium, as much as possible, in those foods targeted to children while ensuring both accessibility and safety of foods.
If the observed Canadian average > FSA Maximum1 Target AND the observed Canadian minimum < FSA Maximum Target then the Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Target = FSA maximum target.
If the observed Canadian average > FSA Maximum Target1 AND the observed Canadian minimum > FSA Maximum Target then the Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Target = observed Canadian average for this food category or food group
If the observed Canadian average < FSA Maximum Target1 then the Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Target = observed Canadian average for this food category or food group.
When a draft Canadian target, which was set according to the above criteria, is attained or does not result in further sodium reduction, a new target can be set based on sodium levels observed within the food category or food group.
A. Observed Canadian Average:
B. Draft Proposed Sodium Reduction Target:
below which all foods in each category should fall, preferably through gradual, stepwise reductions by 2016 if not before.
C. FSA Target (Average or Maximum):
1 In the cases where there was no FSA maximum target, the FSA average target was used.
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