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This year's Food Safety event focuses on the evolving regulatory landscape

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22 March 2016

Food manufacturers respond to new salt intake data

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Commenting on new figures from Public Health England measuring UK salt intakes, Tim Rycroft, Corporate Affairs Director at the Food and Drink Federation, said:

“Salt consumption in the UK has been on a downward trend for years, with voluntary recipe change from Britain's food and drink producers credited with driving much of this progress. FDF members alone have on average cut salt in their products by 8% since 2011.

“As today's data show, intakes of salt continue to drop, albeit at a slower rate. Continued public education and action from more companies across the food industry is needed to drive further progress. Producers of packaged foods, which have been at the forefront of this work, are finding it harder to further reduce salt without compromising product safety, quality, taste or shelf-life.”

What will drive further salt reductions?

  1. To drive further change, we need restaurants, cafes and takeaways to step up to the salt reduction challenge. Salt reduction in foods eaten out of the home would also help people to adapt to a less salty taste, which has an additional benefit of helping producers of prepared and packaged foods to overcome consumer acceptance challenges.
  2. The release of a report on whether potassium-based salt replacers are suitable for use from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Committee on Toxicity (COT). This information, due in 2017, is needed before some categories can progress salt reduction efforts.
  3. Government support to upskill the UK's 6,500 small and medium sized food and drink businesses and help them to reduce salt, calories (including sugars) and saturated fats in their ranges would also deliver significant consumer benefit.

Notes to editors

  • Overall salt intakes have fallen by 11% since 2005/06.
  • In 2014, mean estimated salt intake for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.0g/day (33% higher than the SACN recommended maximum).
  • Today's figures show that women, who on average consume 6.8g per day, are close to meeting Public Health England's daily maximum recommendation for adults of 6g. Men are on average consuming 9.1g per day. It's possible that this variance reflects the differences between genders in the types and volume of foods they most commonly consume, both in and outside of the home.
  • In 2012, FDF, together with BRC and Leatherhead Food Research, published a research report aimed at helping food businesses identify available technological solutions to salt reduction.

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