HLF Supports Further Study on Salt Reduction in School Lunches

November 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Leadership Fund today applauded Congressional action intended to delay recently revised school lunch standards developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, especially in regards to a proposed reduction in salt consumption.

“Once again, federal regulators have abandoned sound science in favor of political correctness and a flawed agenda,” said Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. Lopez.  “The scientific and medical evidence clearly shows not only that salt is essential to good health, but also that there is a lack of evidence of health benefits from reduced-salt diets.”

Lopez also expressed concern over the unintended consequences of government-mandated reductions of salt in food.  Human beings have an innate physiological appetite for salt, and the human body moderates its behavior to replenish the blood’s ionic balance.  So individuals who are faced with food mandated to be low in salt may, even unconsciously, be driven to eat considerably more to satisfy the natural appetite for salt.  “The irony is that, despite good intentions, federal regulators may be contributing to an increase in obesity, which is a problem for the Americans of all background, and especially for Latinos.  Calling for further study on the effects of the USDA’s sodium reduction guidelines is the right thing to do,” said Lopez.

Last week, the Hispanic Leadership Fund wrote to the Food and Drug Administration prior to a public hearing they hosted with other government agencies on sodium reduction to express these same concerns.