FDA proposes sodium guidelines for processed foods

The FDA has released proposed guidelines for sodium levels for restaurant and processed foods.

A report on the guidelines said that 75 percent of total sodium intake comes from processed or commercially prepared restaurant foods, so the guidelines seek to encourage these industries to reduce sodium in tandem with and support of industry efforts in this direction. It does not recommend specific methods or prescribe how much sodium should be used.

The guidelines are part of a two-year goal to reduce sodium consumption to the recommended level to 3,000 milligrams a day and eventually 2,3000 milligrams a day (about a teaspoon of table salt). The FDA is recommending a gradual change in manufacturing so they have enough time to adjust the taste.

Amazon to launch new private label food brands

Perishable food is among the new private-label brands Amazon.com will release this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime and Mama Bear brands will package items such as nuts, tea, coffee, baby food, spices and vitamins, along with household items such as laundry detergent.

The company said it will build on existing customer loyalty with lower prices and that will appeal to those in their 20s and 30s.

The products will only be available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 per year for a two-day delivery service and other perks and spend significantly more money on the site than non-members.

FDA finds criticisms of food recall reaction time unfounded

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been criticized by a new report for its slow reaction to ordering recalls of foods.  A review of 30 recalls between 2012 and 2015 by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General founded two instances where the department had not issued a recall on all items affected until 81 or 165 days after it became aware of the issue.

The government watchdog requested the FDA address the issue. The FDA reacted by saying that the findings were based on a “judgmental sample… chosen based on their risk factor.”

“We also agree that timeframes should be set, but they must be done on an individual basis rather than by setting arbitrary deadlines,” an FDA blog post stated. “The complexities surrounding recall events make it difficult for the FDA to establish a single timeline applicable to all situations.”