Salt reduction strategy
Monday 5 October 2009
Since 2003 the FSA has had in place a programme of work to help UK consumers reduce their salt intakes. High salt intakes contribute to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The Agency's initiative forms an important part of our work to make healthy eating an easier option and reduce diet-related diseases.
In 2003 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published its report, 'Salt and Health'. SACN concluded that the evidence of a link between high salt intake and high blood pressure was stronger than it had been when the issue was last considered in the early 1990s. SACN also concluded that a reduction in the average salt intake of the population would proportionally lower population blood pressure levels and confer significant public health benefits by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. SACN recommended that the average salt intake of the population should be reduced from the then current levels of 9.5g to 6g per day, with lower levels recommended for children.
Following publication of the SACN report, the Food Standards Agency and Department of Health made a commitment to work towards reducing salt intakes in line with the report's recommendations. The programme of work to achieve that goal has three main strands:
- a public campaign to raise consumers' awareness of why a high salt intake is bad for their health and what they can do to reduce intakes
- working with the food industry to reduce levels of salt in foods as around 75% of the salt we eat is already in the every day foods that we buy
- front-of-pack labelling to provide additional information to consumers on the levels of salt (and other nutrients) in food
A brief history of the Agency's salt reduction work can be downloaded from the link below.