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BAC has released the following in response to Health Canada’s recent update on Sodium Reduction in Processed foods

- Bakers have made double digit sodium reduction in most breads between 2009 and 2015.

  • The mean sodium of all pantry breads has decreased by 11% in six years
  • According to a BAC analysis (which has been shared with Health Canada) in 2015, 90% of pantry bread met the maximum sodium target.
  • Based on market share, the average amount of sodium in pantry bread is just under 400 mg per 100g
  • The reduction was achieved in face of the essential technical role for sodium in baking and growing consumer demands for natural and fewer ingredients in their foods.

- Sodium reduction in bread was achieved even though sodium is an essential functional ingredient to the chemistry of bread baking

  • Sodium is essential to fermentation control in baking. When salt and yeast compete for water, salt wins and yeast growth is slowed resulting in a more uniform cell structure and better overall bread texture quality.
  • Sodium has a strengthening and tightening effect on the gluten in dough. Without adequate sodium in the formulation, the resulting bread would be weak and crumbly.
  • Sodium promotes consistent colour formation.

- Bakers continue to support voluntary sodium reduction, however we remind Health Canada and others that the 2016 reduction targets were “aspirational” as they were based on meeting a public health objective, not on functional achievability.

  • Health Canada’s sodium reduction targets were constructed to meet a reduction target for population sodium consumption.
  • During the consultation process leading to the establishment of the reduction targets BAC made Health Canada aware of the baking industry’s significant technical barriers in sodium reduction. 
  • Health Canada’s bread reduction targets are the lowest of and have not been achieved by any of the international partners (Brazil, South Africa, UK, US, Chile) that Health Canada is looking at in terms of sodium reduction programs.

The Health Canada Sodium Reduction report can be found at: 

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/legislation-guidelines/guidance-documents/guidance-food-industry-reducing-sodium-processed-foods-progress-report-2017.html#s3