U.S. regulators are planning a push to gradually cut the amount of salt Americans consume, saying less sodium would reduce deaths from hypertension and heart disease, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The effort would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in processed foods, the newspaper
reported. The plan is to be launched this year but officials have not set salt limits.
The government plans to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to ratchet down sodium consumption, the newspaper said, citing U.S. Food and Drug Administration sources.
U.S. researchers said in a recent study that working with the food industry to cut salt intake by nearly 10 percent could prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes over several decades and save the U.S. government $32 billion in healthcare costs.
Eating too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, which the Institute of Medicine, one of the National Academies of Sciences, last week declared a "neglected disease" that costs the U.S. health system $73 billion a year.