Action on Salt

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13 July 2012

  • DF & BRC issue misleading press release
  • CASH report finds product examples going ‘above and beyond’ current salt targets
  • Further salt targets must now be set if the UK is to continue to lead the world and save the maximum number of lives

CASH report [PDF 690KB]

The Food & Drink Federation (FDF) and British Retail Consortium (BRC) have today completely wrongly claimed that ‘salt reduction is reaching it’s limit’ and have cited ‘technical difficulties’ in meeting salt targets in 8 (out of 30) categories of food [Ref 1], based on a report submitted by Leatherhead Food Research [Ref 2].

In reality, the report by Leatherhead Food provides food companies with valuable information to achieve their salt reduction goals and indicates that gradual reductions in the salt content of food, coupled with the use of potassium based salt or other ingredient based solutions, can be used to lower the salt content of all food in line with the Government’s recommendations [Ref 4].

Consensus Action on Salt & Health’s (CASH) own report issued simultaneously (attached), strongly reinforces Leatherhead’s findings [Ref 3]. Furthermore, our report identifies specific product examples which not only meet the 2012 targets but go well below them. These findings clearly demonstrate that the 2012 targets [Ref 4], and any further targets to be set are achievable; if one leading company can meet the targets, so can all the rest.  

The UK is leading the world on salt reduction, using a strategy which is considered “the most successful nutrition policy since the Second World War” [Ref 5]. As a result the UK now has the lowest known salt intake of the developed world [Ref 6].  This success is largely due to the fact that the food industry in the UK has and will continue to lead the world in salt reduction, taking responsibility for reducing salt in their food and developing innovative solutions to enable them to meet the salt targets.

Both reports highlight the need for a level playing field and to ensure that future targets are set for the whole of the food industry, including food eaten outside the home. The Department of Health must now go ahead with setting new salt targets to ensure that the UK continues to lead the world and save the maximum number of lives.

“We must not be put off by a ‘dinosaur like’ approach from the BRC and FDF. The UK is fortunate to have some of the leading food companies in the world, and in collaboration with them we will reduce salt intake to a maximum of 6g per day. This will prevent 36,000 strokes and heart attacks every year, 18,000 of which would have been fatal, while also saving the NHS billions of pounds a year [Ref 7]” says Professor Graham MacGregor of the Wolfson Institute, and Chairman of CASH



Notes to Editor
Go to for more information or contact:
• Professor Graham MacGregor on: 07946 405617,
• Katharine Jenner on: 07740 553298,
• Gillian Breen on: 0207 242 2844 / 07815 125 675,

Follow us on twitter at #salt

Ref 2 – The Leatherhead Report  is available here

Ref 4 - The salt pledge as part of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal states
“We commit to the salt targets for the end of 2012 agreed by the Responsibility Deal, which collectively will deliver a further 15 per cent reduction on 2010 targets. For some products this will require acceptable technical solutions which we are working to achieve. These targets will give a total salt reduction of nearly 1g per person per day compared to 2007 levels in food. We recognise that achieving the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g of salt per person per day will necessitate action across the whole industry, Government, NGOs and individuals.”

Ref 5 – Winkler JT (2012) BMJ 2012 344; e4465

Ref 6 –The mean estimated salt intake, derived from urinary sodium excretion, for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.1g per day, with men having a mean estimated intake of 9.3g per day and women having a mean estimated intake of 6.8g per day

Ref 7 – NICE (National Insitiute for Health & Clinical Excellence) (2010). NICE Public Health Guidance 25: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. NICE: London




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