On January 15, the federal government released a report regarding tracking the amount of sodium in processed foods. Health Canada’s research took place between 2012 – 2016 and specifically examined the excess sodium in Canadians’ diets, which result in higher blood pressures.
According to the report, 25% of Canadians live with high blood pressure, 80% of Canadians consume too much sodium, 93% of kids aged four to eight years consume too much sodium and 77% of sodium in Canadians’ diet comes from processed food.
With the results now known, it appears as though the federal government’s target goals were not met. The report stated that, “Only 14% of food categories met the targeted reduction. In total, 48% did not make any meaningful progress toward sodium reduction; in fact, among the 48%, the sodium levels in several categories increased. In terms of the saltiest products on the market, only 30% lowered sodium content to levels similar to other foods in the same category. The reduction of sodium in processed foods was much lower than anticipated. For most food categories, manufacturers did not do enough to reduce the sodium levels in the foods that they sell to Canadians.”
Going forward, the federal government says further actions are needed that could include an ongoing monitoring program and public commitments from manufactures to aid in sodium reduction.
Our members should keep in mind that the next phase of the government’s purview for sodium reduction strategies could move the focus from manufacturers to foodservice operators. Restaurants Canada recognizes the importance of healthy eating and we look forward to working with the government to find solutions that work best for the foodservice industry and the general public.