Report shows high sodium levels persist in most packaged foods



Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor

HEALTH Canada on Monday released an evaluation of the food industry’s efforts to meet these sodium reduction targets and noted that results show that sodium reductions in most categories of processed foods were modest.

Specifically, industry met the targets in 14% of food categories. These results are an indication that additional measures are needed to reduce sodium in processed foods.

In 2012, in an effort to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply, Health Canada established voluntary sodium reduction targets for 94 processed food categories following extensive consultation with the food industry. The department encouraged the food industry to achieve these targets by the end of 2016.

Over the next few months, Health Canada said it will conduct an in-depth analysis of each category and will meet with industry stakeholders and scientific experts to better understand the challenges encountered in reducing sodium.

As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, Health Canada said it is committed to reducing sodium in processed foods. It will be proposing regulations that aim to make it easier and faster for Canadians to make healthy choices when buying food, while developing modern tools for Canadians to build their knowledge about healthy eating.

Health Canada said that although they may not realize it, Canadians are eating more sodium (salt) than is considered healthy. This can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said: “There is too much salt in the food we eat, in particular in processed foods. Reducing sodium in foods is an important step towards improving the health of Canadians.”


Quick Facts:

  • 25% of Canadians have high blood pressure.
  • 80% of Canadians and 93% of kids aged 4 to 8 years consume too much sodium.
  • In Canada, 77% of Canadians’ sodium intake is from processed food.
  • Top contributors to sodium intake in Canada include breads, processed meats, soups, cheese, mixed dishes, and sauces.