National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Beth Johnson yesterday issued the following statement in response to the latest claims from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) regarding sodium and the restaurant industry:

“We are disappointed in CSPI’s latest attack on America’s restaurants. The restaurant industry has been making tremendous strides on the topic of sodium and other issues related to healthy cuisine, and we are pursuing a wide range of efforts to respond to customers’ interest in nutrition information and healthier options.

“The National Restaurant Association has engaged with many organizations during the past year on this critical topic. The Association held a conference dedicated entirely to the issue of sodium last July (‘Nutrient Essentials: Sodium and the Healthy Plate’) and brought together nutrition, quality assurance, culinary, research and development, and other industry stakeholders, to discuss the choices and challenges related to sodium.

“Through this outreach and other efforts, such as the Association’s partnership with, the restaurant industry is committed to make a positive difference in supporting our customers’ interest in healthy lifestyles. The Association also supports the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act of 2009 that will provide a national nutrition labeling standard, which has earned the restaurant industry high marks from many in the public health and policy communities. Our members have introduced a range of menu choices during the past year and will continue to explore new options and alternatives to meet the needs of consumers.

“Although sodium is an essential ingredient that contributes to the safety, quality and taste of foods, the restaurant industry will continue to work with all interested parties to continue a productive dialogue about this issue.”

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