Institute of Medicine suggests salt reduction be mandatory.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 9:42am

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 9:46am

A prestigious health organization wants Washington to wage war on salt. The Institute of Medicine says the food and restaurant industries have been so slow at voluntarily reducing salt in their products that it wants the FDA to make sodium reduction mandatory, NBC's Chris Clackum has more.

With excessive salt a big reason why a third of American adults has high blood pressure and with single servings supplying so much of the recommended daily maximum of 2,300 milligrams, the Institute of Medicine wants the Food and Drug Administration to slow the flow of salt. The institute says after four decades of sounding the alarm on salt, food makers and restaurants are still reluctant to reduce it, even though they're the most common source of it.

The institute says it doesn't want the nation to quit cold turkey, but rather slowly wean Americans from salt so their taste buds can adjust. The American Medical Association says cutting salt intake by half over ten years could save 150,000 lives every year.

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