Yesterday we reported that food and drink manufacturers in the UK were to take action to reduce the levels of salt in breakfast cereals, soups and sauces in response to the growing concern from the Food Standards Agency, and others, about high sodium levels in food.
Now the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has added its voice to the calls for more information on sodium content, in particular about the dangers of high levels of salt in the diet.
The BRC is calling on the Food Standards Agency to launch a campaign to inform the public about the dangers of adding too much salt. Retailers are also want the FSA to set achievable targets for sodium levels for children as their current suggested targets may create dietary imbalance.
Bill Moyes, director general of the BRC, said: "We are glad the government is taking the issue of salt seriously. Retailers are already fully engaged in the issue of salt reduction and have policies in place that seek to minimise salt content in their own-brand processed foods.
"Through this 'shopping basket' or 'whole diet' approach, retailers recognise that their customers want to eat healthily and are responding by introducing an ever-increasing range of reduced salt products."
He continued: "We now call upon the FSA to launch a public information campaign to encourage consumers to stop adding salt at the table, to reduce their use of salt in cooking and seek low salt alternatives in processed foods. To rectify this, the FSA should launch a campaign to encourage consumers to be more aware of the risks of high levels of salt consumption and to seek alternatives to processed foods, which often have a high salt content."
The BRC is concerned that the targets for sodium intake for children are unrealistic and unachievable. Many products are naturally high in sodium and attempting to meet these targets could result in unbalanced diets. The FSA needs to properly address these issues in its advice to parents.