Washington, DC (Vocus) January 12, 2010
The food scientist responsible for the original introduction of folic acid, biotin and fiber supplementation into commercial food products in North America today warned the New York City Health Department on the unintended consequences of population-wide salt reduction. Morton Satin, Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the Salt Institute cautioned that the city’s National Salt Reduction Initiative, which pressures food manufacturers to voluntarily cut sodium content 20 to 25 percent by 2014, is based on a false premise and shaky science.
Satin cited his concern over the "degree to which personality and politics have dominated over what should have been a comprehensive and dispassionate consideration of all the science relating to salt and health and the potential impact of a population-wide reduction in salt consumption.” He went on to warn the Health Department: “While no one doubts that a certain proportion of our population may experience modest blood pressure declines from salt reduction, it has by no means been scientifically established that a population-wide reduction will benefit health outcomes. Indeed, the literature abounds with references alluding to possible harm for some."
According to Satin, salt is a natural, necessary nutrient which has been used for thousands of years. "Mediterranean diet consumers, such as the Italians, consume 40% more salt than Americans, but because they eat a balanced diet with plenty of salads and vegetables, they have the best cardiovascular figures in the world. I’m concerned that the reduction in salt in canned vegetables could lead to less vegetables being consumed. This would be harmful to consumers, especially children."
Satin said his chief concern is the potential harm from unintended consequences, including introduction of salt replacements--an arsenal of synthetic chemical products that have never been tested for their interactions and toxicities at the projected levels. According to Satin, it is little different than replacing hard animal fats with trans fats or cane sugar with the several industrial chemicals we call sugar replacers today. "Sooner or later, a fuller understanding of their toxicities will be revealed, but no one will be around to take responsibility for the ill-conceived strategy that prompted them," said Satin.
"Before we subject a generation of consumers to one of the largest clinical trials ever carried out, without their knowledge and without their consent, I ask health officials to use their talent, training and common sense to place this whole matter into perspective," concluded Satin. Instead, he encouraged them to focus their energies on promoting a well-balanced diet and encouraging the food industry to make fruits and vegetables in more convenient forms that will stimulate greater consumption.
Satin went on to say, "Research shows that over the past 30 years the only country that has ever reduced its salt consumption is Finland. However, when comparing the cardiovascular performance and increases in longevity of Finland over the last 30 years to all of its neighbors, as well as to the U.S. and Canada- countries that did not drop sodium consumption- it is instructive that Finland's performance has been the worst of all. The only conclusion that can be made is that salt reduction doesn't provide any positive health benefits and may diminish benefits when it relates to diet."
Lori Roman or Mort Satin