New FDA Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, Expresses Commitment to Sodium Reduction
Hahn was quoted saying, "If confirmed as Commissioner, I will use the best science to guide the appropriate steps related to sodium levels."
The new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, radiation oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was recently confirmed into the position on Thursday, December 12, 2019.1
In a recent confirmation hearing, Hahn expressed his intended commitment toward sodium reduction—though he admitted he needed to learn more about FDA food programs and food safety.2 When questioned on his priorities for improving nutrition nationwide, Hahn specifically called out the FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals.2,3 These guidelines outline sodium targets for 150 different food categories that are weighted by market share in order to focus on the dominant sellers in each category. These food categories, ranging from feta cheese to dry-cured meat-based sandwiches, were selected based on their contribution to population sodium intake.3 Because 77% of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, these guidelines will apply to all food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operators.4
Hahn was quoted as saying, “If confirmed as Commissioner, I will use the best science to guide the appropriate steps related to sodium levels.” He also noted that he would work “expeditiously on the next steps,” though no timeline was spelled out. 2
At Cargill Salt, we offer a large portfolio of potassium chloride and other sodium reduction ingredients, as well as the knowledge and resources to help food manufacturers successfully formulate these ingredients into their products. With the right partnerships in place, the FDA’s Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals—even in their proposed form—might not be so out of reach. To learn more, visit https://www.cargill.com/food-beverage/na/sodium_reduction.