The government is reportedly set to name and shame several food companies for failing to make adequate cuts in the salt content of processed foods, while the UK food industry has confirmed that it is to soon present a plan to the Department of Health (DoH) regarding reducing salt in meat products.

"The UK industry has made huge strides, welcomed by the Food Standards Agency, in reducing salt across a range of products. In addition to further reductions pledged this year, an industry-wide plan for reducing salt in meat products is to be shared with the DoH shortly," said Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, which represents the industry.

Paterson's comments come amid newspaper reports that the government is set to name and shame several food companies that have failed to make substantial cuts in the salt content of food such as bread, pizza and ready meals.

Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson has singles out 27 companies, including Heinz, Nestlé, Northern Foods, McDonald's and United Biscuits, for criticism over their failure to sufficiently reduce salt in their products, reported The Times.

Johnson also criticised the own-brand products of food retailers such as Sainsbury, Waitrose, Asda and Marks & Spencer, as well as school meals company Scolarest. The offenders are to be warned that if they do not significantly reduce the salt content of their products, the government could introduce legislation requiring health warnings on products that contain high levels of salt, the newspaper report said.

Johnson said in a letter to all the companies concerned that the industry's plans were often lacking details and specific actions.

"What is needed are real commitments for key product categories such as pizza, breakfast cereals, sandwiches and ready-made meals to ensure that we reach the necessary reduction in salt intakes from processed foods," she was quoted by The Times as saying.