HealthDay News — The US Food and Drug Administration wants the food industry to voluntarily reduce the amount of sodium in processed and commercially prepared food.

In draft voluntary guidelines issued Wednesday, the agency set both 2-year and 10-year goals for lower sodium content in hundreds of processed and prepared foods. The aim is to reduce the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke among Americans, according to the FDA.

Americans’ average salt intake is about 3,400 mg a day, which is nearly 50% more than what experts recommend. The voluntary targets are meant to reduce Americans’ daily salt intake to 3,000 mg in 2 years and 2,300 mg in the next decade, according to the FDA. The guidelines cover a wide range of foods, from bread to cold cuts, cereals, and snacks.

“Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure, and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths,” Susan Mayne, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement. “Because the majority of sodium in our diets comes from processed and prepared foods, consumers are challenged in lowering their sodium intake themselves.”

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  1. FDA issues draft guidance to food industry for voluntarily reducing sodium in processed and commercially prepared food [news release]. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration. Published June 1, 2016; Accessed June 2, 2016.