Say goodbye to salt shakers

A staple at restaurants in Mexico City may soon be vanishing from the tabletops: salt shakers.

The Mexico City health secretary and the city’s restaurant chamber signed an agreement to encourage eateries to provide shakers only at the request of guests. The program is voluntary, but the chamber is urging members to comply, according to a CBS News story.

The campaign – “Less Salt, More Health” – is aimed at tackling residents affinity for salt. Some estimates show Mexicans eat nearly three times the recommended amount and significantly more than what Americans consume, according to the CBS News story.

In Mexico City, “people often sprinkle salt-and-chili powder onto already salted potato chips. Bags of apples sometimes contain plastic packages of salty vinegar-and-chili salsa,” according to the story.

The city’s health secretary said Mexicans regularly consume as much as 11,000 milligrams of salt each day, which translates to about 4,400 milligrams of sodium.

Americans, on average, eat about 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams daily.

What do you think of the salt shaker campaign? How would a similar campaign fare in the U.S.?

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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