Bread is only food meeting salt target, survey finds
Bread rolls are the only manufactured foodstuff likely to meet stringent 2017 salt-reduction targets, research shows.
The food industry will miss almost every target set to lower the amount of the “hidden killer” in processed food.
The 2017 goal had been that by the end of this year products should contain no more than 1.13g of salt per 100g. A survey carried out by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) found the only food group likely to scrape into this range is “bread and rolls”.
After examining all 28 categories of processed food, researchers could not find any other item coming close to meeting targets. Doctors and scientists discovered that Galaxy Ultimate Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is saltier than seawater – and that a single serving has more salt than a packet of crisps.
The public health responsibility deal was set up by government in 2011 to encourage manufacturers to self-regulate. Targets for 2017 were set in 2014 and Cash agreed to monitor the scheme by recording the salt content of common foodstuffs in UK shops and supermarkets.
The recommendations were designed to get consumers eating no more than the recommended 6g of salt a day. A high-salt diet has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Health campaigners are calling on public health officials to urgently set new targets for 2020 and push food companies to meet this year’s recommendations.
Looking at a shopping basket of everyday food items, researchers found for every high-salt option, healthier low sodium alternatives were available.
In comparing the two sets of groceries, they found a difference of 57g of salt between the healthy choice and the saltladen set of goods.
Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, called the findings “a national scandal.” He added: “The UK was leading the world in salt reduction, but Public Health England are doing nothing to ensure 2017 salt targets are met.”