Anti-salt campaigners are to urge companies to cut salt in everyday foods eaten by children, and to put maximum salt levels for different age groups on products specifically aimed at kids.
Consensus on Action on Salt and Health (Cash) will use Salt Awareness Week, which starts on 28 January, to claim it is difficult for parents to keep their children's salt consumption to upper limits because conventional products frequently eaten by kids are often formulated with adult maximum consumption rates in mind.
Such products include bread, breakfast cereals, sausages and oven chips, it says.
Maximum recommended salt intakes vary according to age. One to three-year-olds should eat no more than 2g a day; four to six-year-olds 3g and seven to 10-year-olds 5g. Kids older than 11 and adults can safely eat up to 6g a day, according to official advice.
"We want manufacturers and retailers to cut salt in all products eaten by children," said Joanna Butten, project co-ordinator and nutritionist at Cash. "It's very difficult for parents to moderate their children's salt intake unless they want to introduce a totally separate meal regime for them, which isn't very practical."
Cash is also concerned that some products aimed at youngsters carry nutritional information relevant for adults. "It makes sense that on products for children it should have information relevant to children," said Butten. "At the moment some do and some don't."
Cash is planning to spread its message to the public through 150 events around the country during Salt Awareness Week, staged in sites such as doctors' surgeries and libraries.
The organisation is also leading World Action on Salt and Health's World Salt Awareness Week, which runs concurrently with the UK event. Wash, set up in November 2006, is to call for multinational food companies to cut salt levels all over the world and not just in the markets such as the UK where the issue is high on the political agenda.
Fourteen countries are taking part in the event, including the US, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.