Changes in the sodium content of Australian processed foods between 1980 and 2013 using analytical data

Felicity Zganiacz, Ron B.H. Wills, Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay, Jayashree. Arcot, Heather Greenfield

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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The objective of this study was to obtain analytical data on the sodium content of a range of processed foods and compare the levels obtained with their label claims and with published data of the same or equivalent processed foods in the 1980s and 1990s to investigate the extent of any change in sodium content in relation to reformulation targets. The sodium contents of 130 Australian processed foods were obtained by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) analysis and compared with previously published data. The sodium content between 1980 and 2013 across all products and by each product category were compared. There was a significant overall sodium reduction of 23%, 181 mg/100 g (p <0.001, 95% CI (Confidence Interval), 90 to 272 mg/100 g), in Australian processed foods since 1980, with a 12% (83 mg/100 g) reduction over the last 18 years. The sodium content of convenience foods (p < 0.001, 95% CI, 94 to 291 mg/100 g) and snack foods (p = 0.017, 95% CI, 44 to 398 mg/100 g) had declined significantly since 1980. Meanwhile, the sodium contents of processed meats (p = 0.655, 95% CI, −121 to 190) and bread and other bakery products (p = 0.115, 95% CI, −22 to 192) had decreased, though not significantly. Conversely, the sodium content of cheese (p = 0.781, 95% CI, −484 to 369 mg/100 g) had increased but also not significantly. Of the 130 products analysed, 62% met Australian reformulation targets. Sodium contents of the processed foods and the overall changes in comparison with previous data indicate a decrease over the 33 years period and suggest that the Australian recommended reformulation targets have been effective. Further sodium reduction of processed foods is still required and continuous monitoring of the reduction of sodium levels in processed foods is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number501
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017

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