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Dairy Facts 2016

FDA Agrees to Extend Comment Periods on Sodium Reduction

Aug 31, 2016

In response to requests from IDFA and several trade associations, the Food and Drug Administration has extended two comment periods for the agency’s draft guidance detailing voluntary sodium reduction targets for products across the food industry.  

With the goal of helping the American public gradually reduce sodium intake from the current average of 3,400 milligrams (mg) a day to 2,300 mg, FDA drafted both two-year and 10-year voluntary targets for the food industry. The comment periods for the two-year and 10-year targets, which initially had been set for the end of August and end of October respectively, have now been extended to October 17, 2016 for two-year targets and December 2, 2016 for 10-year targets.

The draft guidance called out 13 specific cheese types targeted for sodium reduction and highlighted cheese and dairy products in several other categories. IDFA requested the extension to conduct a thorough review of these proposed targets for cheese and other dairy foods, as well as to provide additional scientific research on baseline sodium levels in different dairy products.

“The cheese industry has done much work to help lower sodium in their products — all while maintaining strict standards for food safety and taste. Establishing the appropriate sodium targets will require extensive research and analysis,” said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs.

IDFA is encouraging member companies to participate in an upcoming survey to collect more information about sodium levels in various cheese varieties they produce. It will also ask if the proposed  short- and long-term sodium targets are realistic based on the critical role sodium plays in maintaining moisture, texture, taste, functionality and food safety for cheese and other dairy products.

For more information, contact Frye at

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