Bill Doult
A call for a government salt warning on groceries has been rejected by ministers.
However, Whitehall still hopes to significantly change food labels so that salt contents of products are clearer.
Demands for clearer labels came in the Commons last week amid cross-party concern that British diets include unhealthily high levels of salt.
Tory backbencher Anthony Steen warned MPs that as a nation the British consumed far too much salt.
The government's own target is to reduce daily salt intakes from the current average of 10g to 12g a day to 5g or 6g.
High blood pressure causes nearly 250,000 deaths a year and strokes a further 50,000 ­ and high salt intake is linked with both diseases, said Steen.
"There are warnings on cigarette packets ­ there should be warnings on food products that contain high levels of salt," added the Totnes MP. "The government should insist they carry a statement such as The Food in this packet contains a high concentration of salt, which can damage your health'."
And the government should legislate so labels contained a list clearly outlining the exact amount of each nutrient, he said. "Consumers could check that at a glance and make an informed but simplified choice."
While rejecting the proposals, junior health minister Melanie Johnson admitted the present arrangements required sodium rather than salt to be specified. Negotiations with the Brussels to change this were under way, she said.

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