A federal task force has delivered a plan to cut Canada’s salt habit to a teaspoon a day – a change that could save tens of thousands of lives a year – but insiders fear it has only tepid support from government and the food industry.
The long-awaited report, released Thursday by the federally appointed Sodium Working Group, maps out the steps to reduce sodium consumption from 3,400 to 2,300 milligrams a day.
Nearly 80 per cent of the sodium most Canadians consume is added by manufacturers to food items. But any action by the industry will be voluntary, and some working group members don’t believe that will be enough. As for the federal government, some of the report’s principal authors believe the Health Ministry is already backing away.
“I don’t think this report and the strategies are going to be sufficient to achieve the reduction of sodium,” said Kevin Willis, director of partnerships at the Canadian Stroke Network and a member of the working group. “Every year that we delay there are tens of thousands of premature deaths and cardiovascular events, billions of dollars of health-care costs, that could be avoided.”
Read report of the Sodium Working Group