The battle over recommended daily sodium levels in the United States has focused on 2,300 mg (the traditional level, a teaspoon of salt) vs. 1,500 mg (initially for health-challenged people, now the official standard).
We should note that our neighbors to the north, Canada, is now trying to decide whether to go from 3,400 mg to 2,300 mg. The difference is that Canada is trying to get consumption down to 2,300 mg, where the U.S. is focused on recommended levels.
The United States doesn't focus on how many milligrams of sodium people consume — if they did, the numbers would be so far off the charts.
The Canadian federal task force's plan to reduce sodium consumption may not receive strong support from the conservative minority government. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't have near the same passion on our food supply as U.S. President Barack Obama.
The long-awaited report, released Thursday by the federally appointed Sodium Working Group, maps out the steps to reduce sodium consumption from 3,400 to 2,300 milligrams a day.
Similar to the United States, Canada is trying to get food processors to make changes voluntarily. Good luck with that.
While several major food suppliers have reduced sodium levels, you do have to wonder when — according to the Globe and Mail, the McDonald's grilled chicken classic sandwich moves from 1,010 mg to 810 mg — why the "healthier" version still has that much sodium.
Canada is a good country for the U.S. to study: while it has a touch of European-light flavor to its cultures and traditions, gastronomically Canada is fairly similar to the U.S. in what we eat, especially processed foods.