FDA to permit potassium salt as alternate name for potassium chloride on food labels

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: @Gettyimages-Thinglass
Picture: @Gettyimages-Thinglass

Related tags Fda Potassium chloride potassium salt

Four years after receiving a petition urging it to permit a more consumer-friendly name, the FDA has issued final guidance allowing companies to use ‘potassium salt’ as alternate name for ‘potassium chloride’ on ingredient labels.

The more label-friendly name – and likely wider adoption of potassium chloride as a salt replacer as a result - would help the FDA achieve its dual goals of reducing sodium intakes and increasing potassium intakes, said the agency, noting that Americans consume, on average, 3,400 mg of sodium per day, nearly 50% more than the 2,300 mg recommended limit.

Its guidance​ has been welcomed by food manufacturers, who pushed back strongly when the FDA first came back to petitioner NuTek Natural Ingredients proposing the term ‘potassium chloride salt’ as a compromise​. Given that consumer suspicion of the term 'chloride' is what prompted calls for a labeling change in the first place, the proposal baffled many observers, with a flurry of big CPG companies urging it to reconsider​.

NuTek: A significant step forward

Clearly we are very happy to see this cross the finish line​,” said Barry Knudson, COO at NuTek Natural Ingredients, which has patented a process that suppresses potassium chloride's metallic taste without requiring companies to add expensive flavor masking ingredients .

This is a significant step forward for global health and consumers’ understanding the importance of sodium reduction as part of a healthy lifestyle​.”  

Multiple food companies and several health advocacy groups supported​ NuTek’s petition​, arguing that a friendlier name would demystify the ingredient and help the industry lower sodium and increase potassium intakes.

The one exception was salt maker Morton Salt, which urged the FDA to scrap both terms and stick with potassium chloride: “Salt is the common or usual name for sodium chloride, and potassium chloride is the common or usual name for potassium chloride that consumers recognize on our food nutritional labels and that is accepted by industry.” 

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