Public sector told to cut the salt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salt, Food, Hypertension, Food standards agency

The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has called for public sector
caterers and their suppliers to reduce the amount of salt used in
their food production and supplies of processed snacks and foods.

The UK's Food Standards Agency​ (FSA) has called for public sector caterers and their suppliers to reduce the amount of salt used in their food production and supplies of processed snacks and foods. Agency chairman Sir John Krebs and minister for public health Hazel Blears have both written to public sector bodies including social services, local education authorities, the NHS and HM Prison Services.

Those with a particular responsibility for feeding children and older people are being asked to take into account the advice on salt intake levels issued by the agency on 15 May 2003, including new maximum salt levels for children.

In addition, the agency held a consultation meeting last week with health and consumer organisations to discuss the best way forward for reducing salt intake across the population.

"Killer diseases such as heart disease and stroke could be reduced if people eat less salt,"​ said Krebs. "But 75 per cent of the salt we eat comes from processed food, so many people cannot easily reduce the amount they consume.

"We're urging industry to reduce the amount of salt in their products. Those who cater for people in schools, hospitals, prisons, and other public sector bodies could also significantly help by asking suppliers to reduce the amount of salt they use."

High salt intake has been linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease. People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, and twice as likely to die from these diseases than are those with normal levels.

Adults in the UK are having about 9 grammes of salt a day. The FSA believes that reducing consumption by one-third to 6 grammes a day would improve public health significantly by reducing average population blood pressure levels.

The views expressed at the consumer consultation meeting will be included in a paper to be put to the FSA Board at their meeting on 12 June 2003 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Related topics: Ingredients

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