The FDA Extends Comment Period to September for "Potassium Chloride Salt" as an Alternate Name for "Potassium Chloride"
This effort by the FDA was driven by the belief that the average American consumer is unfavorable of the name, “potassium chloride,” due to lack of familiarity - when in reality, it’s a common food ingredient that can help aid in lowering sodium intake.
In a recent move to help encourage population-wide sodium reduction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance that would allow the use of an alternate name, “potassium chloride salt,” on food labels, in addition to “potassium chloride.”1
Before the proposed alternate name “potassium chloride salt” can be finalized, however, the FDA asked the public to submit comments for consideration before July 19th, 2019.2 As the July date approached, a request was submitted by industry stakeholders to extend the comment period in order to obtain more consumer perception data to help guide the final decision.7, 8
The belief is that consumers perceive "potassium salt" to be healthier and more familiar than "potassium chloride salt," and interested parties hope to provide the evidence to make this case to the FDA before the finalized ruling. Due to this request, the comment period deadline has since been extended to September 17, 2019, allowing for an additional 60 days.
This effort by the FDA was followed by pressure from food industry stakeholders, first initiated in 2016, to allow use of the alternate name, “potassium salt” on food ingredient labels. The belief is that the average American consumer is unfavorable of the name, “potassium chloride,” due to lack of familiarity-- when in reality, it’s a common food ingredient that can help aid in lowering sodium intake.1 Potassium chloride is an ideal sodium reduction solution in food products because it can maintain nearly the same taste and functionality as salt.1
However, according to the FDA, “’potassium salt’ is not a name in common usage for potassium chloride, and we are unaware of evidence that would support a regulation establishing potassium salt as the common or usual name.”2
Instead, the agency says, “the name potassium chloride salt may signal to consumers that potassium chloride is a substitute for salt. Informing consumers that potassium chloride is a substitute for sodium chloride (salt) could result in consumers selecting food options with less sodium.”2 If consumers are more accepting of this “cleaner-sounding” ingredient name, then the hope is that food manufacturers will be more motivated to lower the sodium content of their packaged food products.1 The overall goal for the FDA is to benefit public health by reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake across the U.S. population.2
Currently in the United States, 9 out of 10 people consume too much sodium, averaging about 3,400 milligrams (mgs) of sodium per day. Experts recommend limiting sodium to the Adequate Intake (AI) level of 1,500 mgs of sodium per day for teens and adults (ages 14 years and older) to help maintain a healthy diet.4
Overconsumption of sodium isn’t the only dietary issue that could be improved by switching to potassium chloride in food products. Estimates suggest some Americans may be below the AI for potassium—though current estimates are not as low as they once seemed.5 Thus, in 2019 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine revised the AI for men (age 19+ years) to be 3,400 mg of potassium per day and for women (age 19+ years) at 2,600 mg of potassium per day.5 Potassium is an essential mineral that we need to stay healthy, and it also aids in lowering blood pressure by combatting the effects on sodium.6
To learn more about the potassium chloride and view Cargill Salt’s full sodium reduction portfolio, visit https://www.cargill.com/food-beverage/na/sodium-reduction-solutions.