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April 20, 2005

UK: Ad watchdog rejects salt campaign complaint

The Advertising Standards Agency has rejected a complaint by the Salt Manufacturers’ Association over advertising placed by the Food Standards Agency aimed at cutting consumption of salt.

The Advertising Standards Agency has rejected a complaint by the Salt Manufacturers’ Association over advertising placed by the Food Standards Agency aimed at cutting consumption of salt.

The FSA used talking slugs in television advertisements to put across a message that “too much salt can lead to a heart attack.” There was also a poster campaign. The Salt Manufacturers’ Association  believed the concept of “too much salt” was immeasurable, challenged whether commercial and poster misleadingly implied salt was bad for your heart and could kill you.

The ASA acknowledged that some experts disagreed that the average salt intake by the adult population should be reduced to the level recommended by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in 1994, it did not consider the division of informed opinion about the concept of “too much salt” was significant enough to counter advice from the official public health body, endorsed by the Chief Medical Officer, that habitual consumption of high levels of salt posed a risk to heart health.

Peter Sherratt, general secretary of the SMA, was quoted by the BBC as saying, “while we are obviously disappointed by the decision, we are delighted that its verdict points out that there is no consensus amongst experts worldwide on the suggested link between salt and high blood pressure.”

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