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Action on Salt



Since being set up in 1996, as a response to the refusal of the Chief Medical Officer to endorse the COMA recommendations to reduce salt intake, Action on Salt has gone from strength to strength. With regular national press coverage, great support from other health charities and a successful annual Salt Awareness Week our message is finally slowly being taken on by the food industry and other health specialists.

We are a leading authority in salt reduction both in the UK and internationally, with the aim of preventing ill health and death from high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and many more health conditions. Some of our key achievements to date include: 

  • Convincing the UK government to prioritise salt reduction efforts for public health benefit and playing a key role in the design of the Food Standards Agency’s salt reduction programme, which started in 2003 and has since been replicated internationally and used as a template for sugar and calorie reduction programmes in the UK.  
  • Playing an integral role in the development of salt reduction targets in 2006, and subsequent iterations of the targets in 2008, 2013 and 2020, through stakeholder meetings with industry and government, providing evidence of successful reductions to support the case for stronger targets. 
  • Having significant involvement in the development and implementation of salt reduction programmes in Australia, China, Malaysia, South Africa, Portugal and the Gulf States, via our international arm World Action on Salt, Sugar and Health – an international network of more than 600 salt and sugar reduction experts. 
  • Having a significant role in the development of salt reduction guidance for the World Health Organization and its regional offices in South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean region. 
  • Giving oral evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, alongside other academics and Jamie Oliver, regarding approaches to tackle childhood obesity. 
  • Giving oral evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee on the measures needed to improve the food supply for public benefit.  
  • Carrying out over 100 national and international surveys highlighting the levels and variation of hidden salt, calories and sugar in popular food and drink which are disseminated to the media and generate huge awareness, leading to redevelopment of the products by food companies and used as evidence of feasibility by NGOs in the UK and worldwide.  
  • Developing the award winning FoodSwitch UK app in collaboration with The George Institute for Global Health, which has a database of over 100,000 packaged food and drink products in the UK. FoodSwitch provides immediate, easy-to-understand information about that product's nutritional make-up, using front of pack traffic light colours.  
  • Successfully advocating for clearer front of pack labelling on food and drink both in store and in the out of home sector, and convincing retailers and many manufacturers to implement the voluntary guidance on their products.  
  • Providing evidence and convincing the government to apply restrictions on advertising and promotion of unhealthy food. 
  • Publishing over 120 peer reviewed publications relating to salt, sugar and public health and providing written evidence to over 50 Government consultations. 
  • Leading experts in salt reduction and reformulation, frequently invited to appear on TV documentaries (e.g. Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, Food Unwrapped), panel discussions, podcasts and key note speakers for UK and international conferences. 
  • Securing funding for successful projects from the British Heart Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, the National Institute for Health Research, the UK Medical Research Council and the World Health Organization. 
    Further documentation is available on our website and annual reports, or on request. 
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