WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2021--Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's voluntary short-term goals for sodium content in foods.

"IDFA is disappointed in the Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals released today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The goals, while voluntary and short-term, ignore the chief recommendation by IDFA and dairy foods companies to exempt the cheese category from these targets for food safety reasons. Instead, the FDA document released today—five years removed from the opportunity to comment on the original draft guidance—includes most cheeses which rely on necessary amounts of sodium to assure product integrity and food safety. Many cheese makers have worked for years to produce a wide variety of healthy, safe products that already fall below or within the short-term sodium targets recommended by FDA and others may be able to make necessary changes to meet these voluntary targets. However, IDFA is deeply concerned that FDA’s persistent disregard for the responsible use of sodium in certain dairy foods, especially cheese, will have negative and unintended food safety consequences. IDFA will continue to educate FDA on the cheesemaking process, including the science-based recommendations made by IDFA and other similar groups to ensure the production of safe, wholesome dairy food products."