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J Am Diet Assoc. 1990 Aug;90(8):1085-8.

Agreement between analytical values and label declarations of sodium content of processed packaged foods.

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  • 1Division of Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C. 20204.


As part of the Food Labeling and Product Surveillance Program of the Food and Drug Administration, samples from 1982, 1984, and 1986 surveys of processed packaged foods (canned, frozen, and dry packaged) were analyzed to determine how closely the foods' actual sodium content matched their label claims for sodium. Samples were classified into three groups: "sodium-free" products (less than 5 mg sodium per serving), and "very-low-sodium" products (5 to 35 mg per serving), and a larger group of products that were labeled as containing more than 35 mg sodium per serving. In the third group, the distribution of actual sodium content fell around 100% of label claims for sodium. For the three survey years, analyzed sodium averaged 101% of label claim (standard deviation [SD] = 25%) for 1982 samples (20 products), 99% of label claim (SD = 28%) for 1984 samples (108 products), and 94% of label claim (SD = 21%) for 1986 samples (265 products). Products labeled "very low sodium" were treated separately because sodium analyses varied widely from the label declarations. However, most "very-low-sodium" products were well under 35 mg sodium per serving. Results indicated that consumers receive reasonably accurate information about the sodium content of processed packaged foods from label claims.

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