sodium reduction

FDA Releases Voluntary Guidelines for Sodium Reduction

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a final, voluntary guideline for the reduction of sodium in 163 categories of commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods.1

This final guideline comes as an update to the FDA’s 2016 draft recommendation. Intended for food manufacturers, chain restaurants, and food service operators, this guideline includes a 2.5-year goal to reduce the average sodium intake by about 12%, from approximately 3400 mg to 3000 mg per day.

The average intake of sodium that is currently recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is 2300 mg per day for individuals aged 14 years or older. The FDA notes that this guideline is a first step for reducing sodium consumption among the American public.

The American Heart Association has released a statement in support of the FDA’s efforts but calls for further action to reduce sodium consumption.2

“Research shows that people consume 50% more sodium than recommended,” concluded FDA officials. “This includes our youngest and most vulnerable populations, with more than 95% of children aged 2 to 13 years old exceeding recommended limits of sodium for their age groups. Although many consumers may want to reduce their sodium intake, about 70% of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, and restaurant foods, making it challenging to limit sodium. Changes across the overall food supply will make it easier to access lower-sodium options and reduce intake even in the absence of behavior change.”


—Leigh Precopio



  1. To improve nutrition and reduce the burden of disease, FDA issues food industry guidance for voluntarily reducing sodium in processed and packaged foods. News release. US Food and Drug Administration; October 13, 2021. Accessed October 14, 2021.
  2. FDA guidance to food industry aims to reduce sodium consumption. News release. American Heart Association; October 13, 2021. Accessed October 14, 2021.