FSA worth its salt

Posted on 18 May 2009 by The Manufacturer

The Food Standards Agency has issued revised salt guidelines which manufacturers of 80 food types are being urged to adhere to by 2012.

The new guidelines form part of the FSA’s drive to bring the average person’s salt intake down to six grams per day. 2008 estimates put the average level at 8.9g which is down 0.9g from 2000/2001.

The current FSA targets were revealed in 2006 with a proposed implementation date of 2010.

The new targets cover products such as such as bread, meat, cereals, pizza, ready meals and savoury snacks.

Rosemary Hignett, head of nutrition at the Food Standards Agency, said “The UK is leading the way in Europe and beyond in salt reduction” said Rosemary Hignett, head of nutrition at the Food Standards Agency. “The reductions which have already been achieved in the UK are already saving lives. To continue to make progress we have set 2012 targets at levels that will make a further real impact on consumers’ intakes, whilst taking into account technical and safety issues associated with taking salt out of food.”

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) backed the FSA’a announcement, saying it was “great to see” the organisation furthering its efforts in reducing salt levels.

Julian Hunt, FDF’s director of communications, said: “We’ll work with our members to understand where the challenges are greatest and whether further investment will see sufficient progress in the timescale set by FSA.”

He warned that new technology and advancements in ingredients will be necessary to allow large scale reductions to happen, but overall “we believe that targets are a relatively simplistic approach to driving progress and we’ve outlined to FSA where the particular challenges lie.”

The FSA said 75 per cent of the salt we consume is already in our food. It said will hold awareness campaigns for both manufacturers and the general public this coming autumn.

A spreadsheet with the salt reduction targets for both 2010 and 2012 can be downloaded from this page.