Canadian meat processors reducing sodium

Published on: May 15, 2013

Canadian meat and poultry processors are beginning to work with Health Canada to proactively and voluntarily decrease sodium "in a significant portion of processed foods," according to an announcement.

The companies said they will work to bring down sodium content by 2016, a target that Health Canada's Sodium Working Group (SWG) has set for Canadians' consumption of sodium to be 2,300 mg per person per day. SWG decided on 2016 in consultation with the government officials, health professionals, meat and poultry processors and consumer groups.

Mary Ann Binnie, a nutrition consultant for the Canadian Meat Council and head of the council's SWG working group, said 2016 is "a voluntary guideline, but clearly, the meat industry has (put) sodium reduction within its corporate plan."

She said food manufactures are decreasing sodium in both new products and reformulated existing products "to meet the target."

However, she said further progress depends on Health Canada moving more quickly on "key measures," including approval of potassium chloride as a partial sodium substitute. Sodium is used in processed foods as a flavoring agent but also as a preservative for food safety.

Binnie also said the industry is becoming frustrated with a delay in approval of irradiation for meat and poultry safety (Feedstuffs, May 6).