The FSA today has published new evidence, which shows the UK’s average daily salt consumption has fallen from 9.5g to 8.6g since 2000. Although the recent figures show an encouraging decline in salt levels, more challenging targets are needed to meet the Government’s target of 6g a day.
To help reduce salt levels, the Agency has launched a public consultation on proposals that will make its voluntary 2010 salt reduction targets, for 85 categories of food, stricter, and set more challenging 2012 targets, for 80 categories of food.
Eating too much salt is a significant risk factor in developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can triple the risk of heart disease and stroke. Reducing the daily UK salt intake to 6g could prevent an average of 20,200 premature deaths a year.
The reduction in salt consumption, since 2000, reflects the positive progress made by the food industry in reformulating products, as well as behavioural changes of consumers. Although substantial advances have been made by some manufacturers and retailers to meet the 2010 targets, the Agency’s review of industry progress has found that there is still scope for some sectors of industry to do more.
FSA Chief Executive Tim Smith said: ‘The Food Standards Agency is encouraged that action to reduce the average amount of salt we are eating on a daily basis is clearly having a positive impact. We recognise that the great steps taken by many manufacturers and retailers have contributed to this success. But while the results of the urinary analysis are positive, we are aware there is still plenty to do.’
The Agency is also working with the catering sector, to improve the nutritional content of food eaten out of the home. With the average person eating one in every six meals out of the home each week, it is likely that reductions in salt in the catering sector will have an impact on daily salt intakes, helping to bring us closer to the 6g target.
(Source: Food Standards Agency UK: July 2008)