The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint by the Salt Manufacturers Association (SMA) regarding the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) recent salt awareness campaign. 

The FSA's campaign features Sid the Slug, a six-foot tall computer animated slug, who communicates the message that eating too much salt can be bad for your heart in the FSA's TV, national poster and print advertising.

The SMA had complained that Sid the Slug was an inappropriate campaign tool stating that "the Food Standards Agency character 'Sid the Slug' is based on the fact that salt kills slugs and the assertion that it will also kill humans." It went on to argue that the poster was misleading.

The ASA Council said it noted that the intention of the poster was to raise awareness about the danger of high salt consumption, not all salt consumption. It noted, furthermore, that the reference to 'too much salt' was clear. It determined that the character of Sid the Slug, which played on the well-known effect of salt on garden slugs, is likely to be understood as a humorous, alliterative device.

"The ASA Council therefore took the view that the advertisement is unlikely to be interpreted as the complainants suggested or to cause serious or widespread offence," it added.

Neil Martinson, director of communications at the Food Standards Agency, welcomed the ASA's decision.

"Sid the Slug was chosen to front the campaign as an amusing way to alert people to a very serious health message - eating too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke," Martinson said.

"The campaign was based on up-to-date independent scientific advice from experts and supported by industry, consumer groups and public health charities. People are far more likely to take notice of health information if it is delivered in an entertaining or unconventional way," he added.