OTTAWA, Ontario – Health Canada reported modest reductions in sodium levels of most categories of processed foods.

Food manufacturers met sodium reduction targets in 14 percent of food categories identified by Health Canada following consultations with food industry stakeholders. In 2012, Health Canada established voluntary sodium reduction targets for 94 categories of processed foods. Food manufacturers were encouraged to meet the targets by 2016.

“There is too much salt in the food we eat, in particular in processed foods,” Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement. “Reducing sodium in foods is an important step towards improving the health of Canadians.”

Twenty-five percent of Canadians have high blood pressure, according to Health Canada statistics, and 80 percent of Canadians, and 93 percent of children ages 4 to 8 years, consume too much sodium. Additionally, 77 percent of Canadians’ sodium intake is from processed foods with top contributors to sodium intake including breads, processed meats, soups, cheese, mixed dishes and sauces, the agency said.

Health Canada intends to conduct an in-depth analysis of each category over the next few months, followed by meetings with industry stakeholders and scientific experts to better understand the challenges food manufacturers encountered in reducing sodium.