The Food Standards Agency has published new voluntary salt reduction targets for food manufacturers and retailers.

The targets apply to salt levels in 85 food categories that contribute the most to the amount of salt in diet including bread, bacon, ham and cheese.

Gill Fine, director of consumer health at the FSA, said: “Although challenging we believe the salt levels set out represent a realistic rate of reduction which will have a real impact on consumers' intakes.”

The Food and Drink Federation gave a cautious welcome to the targets. Its deputy director general Martin Paterson said: “We will need to study the detail to ensure the targets are practical, realistic and take into account the microbiological safety of food.”