Responding to a new study on the effects of dietary modifications on blood pressure, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Rhona Applebaum, Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the National Food Processors Association (NFPA), made the following comments:

"Both this study and the accompanying editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine make the case that all Americans should be following sound dietary guidance, such as that from the federal government or the American Heart Association, for the promotion of healthy blood pressure or treatment of hypertension (along with other medical interventions, where necessary). NFPA and the food industry strongly support efforts to provide consumers with sound, science-based, actionable dietary guidance, and we encourage government, the health care community and industry to work together on ways to better communicate health and nutrition information to all Americans.

"The food industry develops and produces safe foods that provide value, taste, nutrition and variety to the American public.  It is important for consumers to know that the amount of sodium in foods is clearly labeled on food packaging, and that a broad range of foods containing no sodium or low sodium are available to consumers.  This wide variety of food products on the market - coupled with the information contained on nutrition labels - are critical components that enable consumers to choose food products appropriate for their dietary needs.

"As the accompanying editorial points out, 'The widespread adoption by all persons, with and without hypertension, of sound dietary guidelines - should result in improved control and prevention of hypertension, as well as broad improvements in other measures of health.' Government resources should be targeted toward increasing consumer awareness of sound dietary guidance, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Clearly, consumer education is the most effective way to help Americans choose healthful diets."

NFPA is the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs.  For more information on this issue, contact Timothy Willard, NFPA's Vice President of Communications, at (202) 637-8060; Libby Mikesell, Senior Director of Communications, at (202) 639-5919; or visit NFPA's Website at www.nfpa-food.org.