The UK food industry has set out a programme to continue reducing levels of salt in processed foods.

Building on the 2003 salt reductions in breakfast cereals, soups and sauces, as well as the more than 25% reduction in sliced bread achieved to date, the industry has submitted its plans setting out work in progress and future plans to reduce salt.

The UK’s leading bakers have vowed to reduce salt content in sliced bread by a further 5% by the end of 2004 as concluded in an arrangement with the Food Standards Agency.

The Food and Drink Federation’s Meat Group and the British Meat Processors Association, in conjunction with the Meat and Livestock Commission, have set up a working group to develop a proposal to achieve targeted reductions in the salt content of a number of categories of meat products. The group hopes to present an agreed strategy to the government by May 2004.
A Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery Association (BCCCA) survey of its baked goods’ manufacturers in October 2002 showed that some companies had achieved reductions of 10% or more on individual products. However, all BCCCA members who manufacture biscuits or cake have agreed to a policy aimed at reducing sodium in their products.
According to the government’s own figures, sodium levels in potato crisps have fallen by approximately 25% over the past ten years. Some further significant reductions in sodium levels have been achieved recently and more are targeted, the Food and Drink Federation said.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the industry’s continued commitment to making salt/sodium reductions where practical.  But for such reductions to have an impact on consumers’ diets, industry action needs to be coupled with Government-led education informing consumers on the role of salt in their diets,” said Martin Paterson, FDF deputy director general.