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Public Health England Salt targets 2017: Progress report
Salt targets 2017: Progress report A report on the food industry's progress towards meeting the 2017 salt targets
An overdue report shows the food industry have made slow progress towards meeting the 2017 salt targets
At long last Public Health England (PHE) have released an analysis of progress made towards the 2017 salt reduction targets, which should have been released a year ago. The report shows a very poor response from the food industry – both from manufacturers and, particularly, the out of home sector.
The UK’s salt reduction campaign which began twenty years ago, at first saw positive action from both the Government and food industry. The Government set salt reduction targets for different categories of food and the food industry responded by slowly reducing what they add to food. As a result, salt intakes fell by about 1.5g on average, preventing an estimated 7,000 heart attacks and strokes per year.
While supermarkets and some brands continue to take salt reduction seriously in many areas, they are lagging behind in others such as processed meat. Meanwhile much of the out of home sector – restaurants, takeaways and cafes – has done very little, ignoring their effect on our health, and many of the saltiest options are those often chosen by children.
You can download the full report and press release from Public Health England below.
A comprehensive programme of salt reduction targets needs to be reignited and if this report tells us anything, it is that the food industry cannot, and must not, be made solely responsible for lowering our salt intakes.
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK and the salt reduction charity Action on Salt says “Such poor progress in the food industry’s attempt to reduce salt intake is a national tragedy. This report confirms what we know already – that voluntary targets need comprehensive monitoring and guidance, but this has been completely insufficient to date. As a result, thousands of unnecessary strokes and heart attacks have occurred and billions of pounds wasted by the NHS and tragically more than 4,000 premature deaths per year have occurred.”
The story had a huge amount of media coverage, putting the unhealthy levels of salt added to our food in the spotlight.