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Food Safety Focus (75th Issue, October 2012) – Food Incident Highlight

Good Health Starts with Low Sodium Diet

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety released its study results on sodium content of local foods. Among the nine food groups tested, condiments and sauces, processed vegetable products, and processed meat products were found to have high sodium content.

Sodium is essential for normal body functions. Derivatives of sodium can be used as additives to make foods more palatable (e.g. monosodium glutamate) and extend product shelf life (e.g. sodium nitrate). However, excessive sodium intake may result in increased risk of high blood pressure and other related diseases such as coronary heart diseases and strokes.

According to the literature, the Hong Kong population in general has sodium intake exceeding the maximum daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization. To track sodium in your diet, consumers are advised to choose food with lower sodium content by reading nutrition labels on prepackaged food products or consulting the Nutrient Information Inquiry System for sodium content of non-packaged foods. Traders are encouraged to follow recommendations in the Trade Guidelines on Reducing Sodium in Foods to develop healthier food choices.