Health Canada is consistent. They ignored the recommendations of their own advisory panel by ending the monitoring of trans fats in processed food. They are doing the same thing with salt.
The agency claims Canadians consume an average of 3400 mg of sodium every day. For people 14 and over, they want to reduce that to 2300 mg per day by 2016.
The likelihood of achieving that goal is slim. The 3400 mg figure is based on self reporting. According to the summary of a report obtained by Postmedia News, average use may be nearly twice that. Researchers for an Eastern Ontario study performed the 24-hour urine test on 344 adults between the ages of 40 and 69. The results showed an average sodium consumption of 6014 mg per day.
Sodium consumption likely falls somewhere between the two figures, but the earlier figure was already alarming. So in 2007 Health Canada convened the Sodium Working Group to develop strategies for reducing Canadians’ sodium consumption.
The committee was made up of “members from food manufacturing and food service groups, health-focused non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, consumer advocacy groups, health professional organizations and various government departments and agencies.” Including industry representatives was important since approximately 80 percent of the sodium in Canadians’ diets comes from processed food.
A million dollars and more than two years later, the working group released its report, Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada. Their first recommendation was a “structured voluntary approach” that set timelines for industry to meet suggested targets. To ensure compliance, the working group called for independent monitoring and evaluation.
Next: Health Minister Refuses to Hold Industry to High Standards
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