In 2016, responsibility for salt reduction was transferred from the Department of Health to Public Health England (PHE) and now sits within their ‘sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme’, one of the main commitments in Childhood obesity: a plan for action.
The salt reduction targets set under the Public Health Responsibility Deal in March 2014 were due to be met by the end of 2017 and in December 2018, PHE released an analysis of industry progress towards meeting the targets. The report highlighted that UK retailers have made more progress with salt reduction compared to manufacturers - while 73% of retailer products meet their average targets, just 37% of manufacturers meet theirs. Half of the top 15 contributors to salt intake have not met their average salt targets, including the top three contributors - bread and rolls, bacon and ready meals/meal centres. However, if the target has not been 100% met within a category, then it weakens the work done by more responsible companies and salt must be reduced across the board to achieve the much-needed level-playing field for this voluntary programme to have any success.
New salt reduction plans are due to be announced by Easter 20191.
1 Department of Health and Social Care (2018). Prevention is better than cure https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/753688/Prevention_is_better_than_cure_5-11.pdf