PHE starts next stage of new salt reduction targets for everyday foods

PHE starts next stage of new salt reduction targets for everyday foods

PHE is to begin the next stage of engagement with the food industry and health charities on new voluntary salt targets, involving discussions on the technical aspects of further reducing the salt added to everyday foods.

Announced at its Cardiovascular Disease Conference (CVD) in London,PHE said the move follows the Government’s commitment in its Green Paper, ‘Advancing Our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’, to reduce salt in foods as part of a wider programme to lower our salt consumption.

The government recommends that adults eat no more than 6g salt per day, however, the most recent survey in 2014 found that adults in England are consuming on average 8g with some as much as over 20g a day. New figures on the nation’s salt consumption are expected later this year.

The Green Paper sets out an ambition to reduce salt consumption across the population by a further 1g to 7g per day. PHE believes this can only be achieved by a combination of reformulation action by the food industry and by consumers making healthier choices by checking labels and choosing lower salt products, as well as adding less salt to their food at the table.

Over the past 13 years there have been four waves of decreasing voluntary salt targets for foods. This has been the basis of the UK’s world-leading salt reduction programme, which helped reduce salt consumption by 11% between 2006 and 2014. The programme sets out specific targets for different foods including bread, ready meals and breakfast cereals.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE said: “Good progress has been made but many of us are still eating too much salt including from everyday foods. The health risks can be devastating as too much salt can increase our risk of high blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke.”

In this fifth wave of work since 2006, PHE will seek views on what further reductions in salt levels may be possible and plan to publish the new targets later this year.

According to PHE, the foods contributing the most salt to people’s diets include:

  • bread and breakfast cereals
  • bacon, ham and sausages
  • ready meals, pizzas and soups
  • hard cheeses and salted butter
  • baked beans
  • sweet biscuits
  • potato crisps
  • sauces and stocks

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