Campbell Soup this week sent a letter to the FDA supporting a six-month-old petition asking the agency to allow salt replacer potassium chloride to be listed on ingredient labels as "potassium salt."
NuTek Food Science LLC, a producer of potassium chloride and other salt substitutes, filed the citizen petition with the FDA back in June arguing that "many consumers are confused and/or misled by the name potassium chloride" and they "misassociate it with chlorine or other chemicals."
Campbell added that it's done research that reveals consumers are more likely to buy products with "potassium salt" on the ingredients list than "potassium chloride." A spokesman for the soup company said other food processors also have voiced their support for the name change.
Potassium chloride could have a double positive effect on public health: helping consumers reduce sodium intake while also increasing the consumption of potassium. Potassium is an essential nutrient for a number of body functions, including controlling the electrical activity of the heart, but it's been identified as insufficient in the American diet. The 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommended that the daily intake for potassium be increased to 4,700 mg per day, and that recommended amount will be carried on the revised 2018 Nutrition Facts panel.
The fact food processors will need to create a new Nutrition Facts panel in 2018 also makes the timing good for a name change.
NuTek asked for potassium salt as "an additional common or usual name (as opposed to the exclusive name), so that entities will be able to voluntarily choose if and/or when to implement the use of 'potassium salt' in their labeling – instead of being required to use 'potassium salt' by a specified compliance deadline. Entities will therefore be able to implement this change along with the implementation of other labeling changes at their discretion."