Date Published: 19 March 2007

Campaign drives down salt consumption and improves public health (UK)

UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) research reveals that people in Great Britain are consuming less salt than they were five years ago.

Urinary sodium tests tests show a small but significant decrease in the average salt intake of the population since last measured in 2001.

The new data shows that average daily salt consumption has fallen from 9.5g to 9g ? with male intake reducing from 11g a day to 10.2g a day and female intake falling from 8.1g day to 7.6g day.

Although the decrease is small, it indicates that things are moving in the right direction and that good progress is being made by both the food industry and consumers. It highlights that there is still work to be done to meet the Government's national target of no more than 6g a day by 2010.

The publication of this urinary data coincides with the launch of the next stage of the Agency's salt campaign ?Full of it', presented by straight-talking comedienne Jenny Eclair. The hard-hitting ads hammer home the message that most of the salt we eat (75%) is already in the food we buy.

The advertisements feature four categories of everyday food (sandwiches, ready meals, pasta sauce and pizza) highlighting that salt levels can vary considerably and that there is always a lower-salt option. The message simply is to check the label and pick the product with the lowest amount of salt.

 

FSA Chair, Dame Deirdre Hutton, said:

" Since 2004 the FSA has been working in partnership with the UK food industry and health organisations to encourage product reformulation and to raise consumer awareness of the health risks associated with eating too much salt.

_ Today's urinary sodium results illustrate the progress that is being made in reducing the nation's daily salt intake. However there is still some way to go before we reach the 6g target and we all now need to build on this to ensure that the downward trend continues.

_ To help achieve this, the FSA will continue its work in encouraging industry to offer consumers healthier choices and to encourage consumers to drive demand for those healthier choices. And this is exactly what the "Full of it" campaign is all about. "

Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, commented:

" Everybody has a role to play if we are to reach the Government's 6g per day salt target by 2010. Increasing consumer awareness is an integral part of driving the market towards lower-salt options, and complements our partnership work with the food industry to deliver across the board salt reductions. "

 

Source: UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

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