Bakers Journal

News
Salt plan OK’d


August 18, 2010
By Brooke Shaw

OTTAWA – Two major Canadian food industry associations are backing the
federal government’s strategy to reduce to Canadians’ sodium intake.

OTTAWA – Two major Canadian food industry associations are backing the federal government’s strategy to reduce to Canadians’ sodium intake.

In a letter to members in late July, the Baking Association of Canada (BAC) expressed support for the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Sodium Reduction’s voluntary three-pronged, multi-staged approach to reducing sodium in Canadians’ diets.

“The BAC and its members care about the health and wellbeing of Canadians and this important public health issue,” BAC president and CEO Paul Hetherington wrote. “It is important to remember that sodium plays a particularly crucial role in the production of baked goods. It contributes to product quality, taste and texture and as we all know is essential to the baking process. Reducing our daily intake of sodium will no doubt be complex and lengthy, but BAC and its members are committed to supporting the Working Group’s new daily recommended average intake of 2,300 mg by 2016.”

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The partial text of the BAC message reads:

“The baking industry is committed to supporting an average daily recommended intake of 2,300 mg of sodium and the voluntary reduction of sodium levels in processed foods and foods sold in food service establishments.

“It is an ambitious goal for an important public health issue. Canada is taking a leadership position relative to other countries with this goal, which we fully support.

“BAC members have made progress as an industry and are highly engaged in the complex process of reformulation of bread and other recipes to lower sodium levels.”

Meanwhile, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) has also voiced support for the strategy.

“CRFA members are committed to doing their part to help reduce sodium intake. We look forward to working with government and our supply chain partners to make this national action plan a success,” said CRFA vice-president Ron Reaman. “Many restaurant chains are already taking action to reduce sodium as part of a larger effort to offer healthier choices.”
CRFA has been an active member of the Sodium Working Group, and supports the three-pronged approach recommended: voluntary sodium reduction; ongoing research and development; and education and awareness.

“The key is making sure that consumers accept and enjoy sodium-reduced products and don’t feel the need to reach for the salt shaker,” says Reaman. “That requires a gradual, coordinated approach to reducing sodium, accompanied by public education and ongoing research.”
CRFA has published a detailed guide to sodium reduction for foodservice operators, available on its website free of charge at  www.crfa.ca.