In mid-April, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) released the following statement in response to the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendations regarding sodium reduction in the U.S. food supply from Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs:
"The NRA is committed to helping Americans live healthier lives and continuing to provide healthy dining options for our customers. We have been collaborating with restaurant food suppliers, food processors and health organizations to address this issue, such as through the recently enacted nutrition information law.

"We appreciate the IOM's recommendations to take an incremental approach to decreasing sodium in the nation's food supply and we are committed to working with our members, partners throughout the supply chain, and the Food and Drug Administration to address this important issue. We agree with the IOM's focus on consumer acceptance, and the acknowledgement that gradual change is essential to success is welcome. The industry supports a voluntary, incremental approach to reducing sodium levels in menu items, and would have concerns about any potential government mandate that creates a one-size-fits-all rule to ingredient standards or sets arbitrary per-item limits that do not reflect the complexity of addressing the nation's eating habits and improving overall wellness. Without customer acceptance, there will be no measurable change in consumer behavior.

"The restaurant industry has been working for some time to reduce sodium in menu items, recognizing that in many restaurants across the country, the supply chain is critical to that effort. In an industry that incorporates a broad array of concepts and ethnic cuisines, tastes and expectations of food choices differ across the country and among cultures. It is important to recognize that sodium is essential to both the quality and food safety of menu items. While we support identifying options that provide lower sodium choices for customers, we cannot do so at the risk of food safety or quality issues."
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