Health experts call for cigarette-style health warnings on salt shakers

It's no secret that too much salt is bad for one's health, but that doesn't stop many people from overindulging in the seasoning. As a result, a number of health organizations around the world are calling for health warning labels on salt shakers, something similar to the warnings found on cigarette packs and cartons. These labels would be prominently located on the front of the product.

Unhealthy diets are to blame for millions of deaths every year and scientists cite salt as one of the biggest offenders. Many foods, particularly ones that are prepackaged or served in restaurants, contain high quantities of sodium. Consumers may add salt to these foods regardless, increasing the sodium load and, over time, putting their heart health at risk.

Eating too much salt was responsible for more than 3 million deaths in 2017, according to a new policy statement published by The World Hypertension League. In addition to increasing blood pressure, the organization cites research that indicates salt is a probable pro-carcinogen in the case of gastric cancer, as well as something that may cause kidney and cardiovascular disease even if blood pressure is normal.

Some countries like Ecuador and Finland already require warning labels on products that contain high quantities of sodium, but such practices aren't universal and, in some cases, it can be hard for consumers to determine how much sodium a particular food product contains. That's why health experts are calling for the use of a front-label warning on salt shakers and salt products sold in stores that reads:

"Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure and promote stomach cancer. Limit your use."

A number of health organizations have agreed with this recommendation, including Hypertension Canada, the World Action on Salt and Health, the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre on Salt Reduction, and more.