Sodium Content in Cereal-Based Products Sold in Italy: How Far Are We from the Global Benchmarks?

Daniela Martini, Pasquale Strazzullo, M. Serafini, Marisa Porrini, N. Pellegrini, Donato Angelino

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Reformulation of food products is one of the measures needed for reducing salt consumption. Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently proposed global sodium benchmarks for different food categories to be used for setting national policies. Therefore, the sodium content of cereal-based products currently sold in Italy was compared with the WHO benchmarks, highlighting those categories primarily needing a reformulation. To this aim, the sodium content and several declarations (i.e., nutrition and health claims, organic or gluten free declaration) were retrieved from 2917 cereal-based products sold on the Italian market. All "minimally processed breakfast cereals" had a sodium content below the benchmark, while "flatbreads" and "leavened bread" had the highest percentage of items above the respective sodium benchmarks. Flatbreads and "crackers/savory biscuits" showed the highest median delta values from the respective benchmarks of 360 and 278 mg/100 g, respectively. Large variability in terms of percentage of products with sodium content above the benchmark was observed within the same categories, as well as among products with different declarations. A large number of food products currently sold on the Italian market have a sodium content above the benchmark. This result suggests the need to reformulate many food products currently on the market to achieve the WHO/United Nations (UN) objective of 30% global reduction in sodium intake by 2025
Original languageDutch
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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