New Zealand’s sodium intake exceeds recommendations

The findings of a study released on the 22nd August 2013 by the Ministry of Primary Industries ‘The Impact of Mandatory Fortification of bread with Iodine’ has highlighted again New Zealand’s intake of sodium is well above what it should be.

Although the purpose of the study was part of the ongoing work to monitor the effect of mandatory fortification of bread on iodine status, a secondary purpose was to obtain information on the sodium status of New Zealanders.

This study showed the mean sodium intake (3373mg/day) was twice the suggested dietary target and the majority (76%) of participants had a sodium level which exceeded the Upper Tolerable Limit of 2300mg/day.

These findings are consistent with previous population surveys that highlight the on-going need for intervention to lower population sodium intakes.

Over 75% of our sodium intake is ‘hidden’ in processed foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, processed meats, cheese, sauces and spreads. HeartSAFE is an industry-led initiative, facilitated by the Heart Foundation, which supports the continued reduction of sodium in processed foods.

Currently there are best practice guidelines set in number of categories and work will continue to expand across a number of other high volume, lower cost processed foods.

While there has been some great work done particularly in the bread and breakfast cereal categories, more work across the industry is needed. Sodium reduction needs to be a key issue on the radar of food providers across the food supply – food companies, food preparers, fast food companies and caterers.

The full 'Impact of Mandatory Fortification of bread with Iodine' can be downloaded from the Food Safety NZ website.

Interested to find out more about our work in sodium reduction? 

Reducing sodium in processed foods