FDA putting a hand on our salt shakers - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

FDA putting a hand on our salt shakers

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The FDA plans to issue salt guidelines. (Source: KLTV Source) The FDA plans to issue salt guidelines. (Source: KLTV Source)

Imagine a French fry with no salt. It might not be too far out of the realm of possibility. Pressure from the Food and Drug Administration to reduce sodium in restaurants and food manufacturing could make our favorite salty foods a little bland. The FDA plans to issue voluntary guidelines asking the food industry to make their products less salty in an effort to make the nation healthier.

Right next to the lovely centerpiece on almost every restaurant table, you'll find a salt shaker. At Café Bohjana Java, in Tyler, that’s one of the only places you’ll find salt.

“I do soup every day, I do quiche, I don’t even put it in the quiche,” said Chef Carrie Taft-Couture, the owner.

Instead, Taft-Couture uses herbs from the restaurant’s garden. But, can you really have one of Tyler’s best burgers without loads of salt?

“There’s ways to bring out flavors in food without using a lot of salt,” said Becky Kalmowitz, owner of Skyline Café.

She said even the juicy burgers at the restaurant are heavily seasoned with herbs and less salt.

“And I think it’s a good thing, I think we should get back to our roots, you know, salt hasn’t always been around and we did just fine without it,” said Danielle Townsend, a nutritionist with Trinity Mother Frances.

She explained the recommended daily dose is just one teaspoon of salt and most Americans get more than that. Excess can cause strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure - all things the FDA is hoping to cut on.

“With foods, a lot of the ingredients that you’re putting into your recipe that you’re adding already have some kind of salt in it, so, the trick is to not add salt while you’re cooking,” Townsend said.

Turns out, many restaurants already work around salt, but concern grows about the hand on our shakers.

“We’re supposed to be the land of the free, we should be able to make our own choices and, yes, make recommendations, but to change and make everybody eat a certain amount of this or a certain amount of that it seems a little crazy to me,” Kalmowitz said.

With a small sprinkle of herbs and less salt, the FDA is hoping for big changes. There is no word on when exactly the guidelines will be issued. The food industry has made reductions before, but has been preparing for government action since a 2010 report indicated companies had not made enough progress on sodium reduction.

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