The Competitive Enterprise Institute today formally requested the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to peer review nutrition guidelines on sodium in food put forward by the FDA earlier this year. The CEI request is under the auspices of the Information Quality Act and concerns the FDA’s failure to conduct a peer review of its scientific evaluation of sodium, contrary to guidelines set by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
“FDA’s nutrition guidelines need to be based on the best available science, and that is especially true when it will impose billions of dollars in costs and when peer-reviewed scientific articles point out that dietary salt is extremely controversial,” explained Devin Watkins, CEI attorney.
“CEI contends that FDA’s new salt-reduction guidelines violate OMB criteria for quality, objectivity, and integrity,” Watkins continued. “Following the science means listening to independent scientists, many of whom disagree with FDA on this issue. At a minimum, before FDA starts overhauling American diets, its scientific assessment needs to be peer-reviewed.”
There are scientists who disagree with FDA’s conclusions on matters such as the ideal sodium intake and the benefits and drawbacks of sodium reductions. For example, a 2016 study found that high sodium is only a problem for people with hypertension, but for people without hypertension there is an association such that lower sodium has an increased risk of cardiovascular events and death.
As CEI has previously documented, a one-size-fits-all approach to sodium fails to take into account the needs and risks of people as individuals.