NDP MP Libby Davies (Vancouver East) introduced legislation in the House of Commons today, An Act Respecting the Implementation of the Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada, which will involve several measures to help Canadians make healthy choices and eat a diet low in sodium.
“Right now, we are facing an epidemic of sodium-related diseases in our country, driven by the high sodium content of pre-packaged foods, which account for approximately 75% of our sodium intake”, said Davies. “A comprehensive sodium reduction strategy could greatly reduce the incidence of sodium-related diseases and deaths associated with these diseases”.
The bill would set safe levels for the sodium content of pre-packaged foods as well as proper labeling and ensure public funds are not spent on foods that are too high in sodium.
“Canadians have been asking for these measures for years now”, said Davies. “The minister has shown her interests are in supporting industry, rather than the health of Canadians”.
In 2007, the minister established a Sodium Working Group, which recommended the measures in Davies’ bill. The Sodium Working Group was disbanded in 2011 by the minister before the end of their mandate and the Conservative government has since rejected calls from national health advocacy groups and from provincial and territorial governments to regulate sodium in our food.
“This bill would establish the government of Canada as a leader in monitoring sodium levels in foods”, Davies said. “Most importantly, this bill would save the lives of thousands of Canadians each year who die from sodium-related disease.”