The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 17 issued draft guidance on using the name “potassium chloride salt” as an alternative to “potassium chloride” in the ingredient statement on food labels. This ingredient is commonly used to partially replace some of the sodium (in the form of table salt, or sodium chloride) in foods, including meat and poultry, which according to federal guidelines is overconsumed by most Americans while potassium is a nutrient concern. 

It is recommended that Americans consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day, yet most consume on average 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The average daily potassium intake in the US is approximately 3,000 mg for men and 2,300 mg for women, yet according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, men should consume 3,400 mg and women should consume 2,600 mg of potassium each day. The alternative declaration outlined in the draft guidance may help Americans better recognize potassium chloride as an alternative to “salt” in ingredient statements and support industry reformulation efforts to reduce overall sodium intake. At the same time, it will assist with increasing intake of potassium. 

The draft guidance is consistent with FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy to reduce the burden of chronic disease through improved nutrition. The strategy’s goals are to empower consumers with information and support and foster industry innovation in developing and promoting healthful food options. The draft guidance is also consistent with FDA’s activities to encourage manufacturers to reduce the sodium levels in food products in the interest of public health.

“Good nutrition begins with understanding, and the FDA aims to empower consumers with nutrition information where possible,” said Susan Mayne, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Excess intake of sodium is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, which is why we must continue looking at ways to work with industry to provide options that help Americans reduce their sodium intake.” 

The thought process is that by adding the term “salt” to “potassium chloride,” food manufacturers may be encouraged to use this sodium alternative and help consumers to understand that potassium chloride can replace sodium chloride in foods. In the meat and poultry industry, this swap is possible in batters, breading, marinades, sauces, tenderizers and more.  

The FDA will receive public comments on the draft guidance until 60 days after its publication date of May 20, 2019, in the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted electronically at Written comments may be mailed to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville MD 20852. Submissions must include the Docket No. FDS-2019-D-0892.