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take to 6 g/d (2,400 mg/d sodium) could result in significantly fewer deaths from stroke and heart disease (He and MacGregor, 2009).

To track progress, the FSAI chronicles salt reduction commitments by food manufacturers, retailers, foodservice suppliers, and caterers on its website.8 At present, 63 companies and trade associations have registered with the FSAI’s Salt Reduction Programme. As reported by the FSAI, the program has resulted in large bread bakers’ reducing salt in all bread to levels below 1.14 g/100 g, representing a minimum 10 percent reduction in 5 years. Further, the agency reports that large and small meat product manufacturers have reduced salt in key products such as burgers and sausages and states that they are on course to meet FSAI targets for meat products by 2010. In addition, campaigns by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Food Safety Promotion Board are targeting the public to raise awareness about the health effects of a high salt intake.

THE UNITED KINGDOM

In 2003, the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that the public reduce salt intake to an average of 6 g/d (2,400 mg/d sodium) (SACN, 2003). The SACN used data from three national surveys to establish the 6 g target: (1) a 1990 24-hour urine collection reporting average daily salt intake of 9 g by adults; (2) a 1997 dietary intake survey of people 4–18 years of age that reported daily salt intake ranging from 4.7 to 8.3 g; and (3) a 1994–1995 dietary assessment survey of people 65-plus years of age with average daily salt intake of 6 g (SACN, 2003).

To help consumers reach the 6 g target, the UK government undertook a salt reduction program focused on three areas:

  1. cooperation with the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt in foods;

  2. a public campaign to raise awareness of why a high salt intake is detrimental to health and what the public can do to reduce intake; and

  3. voluntary nutrition labeling placed on the front of food packages to provide information on the amount of salt and other nutrients in foods.

8

Available online: http://www.fsai.ie/science_and_health/salt_commitments_and_updates.html (accessed October 13, 2009).



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