The Food Standards Agency is to launch a high profile advertising campaign urging consumers to check food labels for salt content later this year.
A spokeswoman said TV adverts would run in the last quarter of 2004 to get the simple message across that excessive salt consumption was linked with high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
The FSA listed salt reduction as one of its 20 priorities as it started consultation on a strategic plan for the next five years this month.
The Strategic Plan 2005-2010: Putting Consumers First sets out a target to reduce the average salt intakes of UK adults from the current 9.5g to 6g per day by 2010. The FSA also aims to reduce children’s salt intake.
The strategy document says the FSA wants to develop and promote a simple system for highlighting the salt, fat and sugar content on labels by 2006.
It also plans to tighten its control on food assurance schemes and said it will review the way they have adopted its current guidance in 2006. It will then publish an assurance schemes compendium for consumers by 2008.
Another target is to develop guidance on the use of label statements to warn allergic consumers of the risk of contamination with nuts or sesame seeds by 2006.
And it wants to improve consumer understanding of “use by” information.
Food Standards Agency chief executive Jon Bell said: “We know some of the targets will be difficult to achieve, but the successes of the agency in reducing foodborne disease and increasing consumer confidence show we are right to aim high.”
The deadline for responses to the consultation is June 25.
Anne Bruce