Responding to industry requests for more time, FDA has extended the two comment periods for the Draft Guidance to Industry for Voluntarily Reducing Sodium. The comment period for issues related to the short-term (two-year) sodium reduction targets will end Oct. 17, while the comment period for issues related to the 10-year sodium reduction targets will now end on Dec. 2.

In June, the agency first announced its draft guidance that seeks to establish a short-term target of reducing sodium intake to about 3,000 mg per day, with a longer goal of getting that number below 2,300 mg a day—about one teaspoon of salt, a level recommended by experts. The agency says current average sodium consumption is about 3,400 mg per day, which is approximately 50 percent more than the recommended levels.

Included in the draft guidance is a common system for defining and measuring progress on reducing sodium in the US food supply. The approach is to establish reasonable, voluntary reduction targets for the majority of processed and prepared foods, placing foods in nearly 150 categories, from bakery products to soups.