A call for a tax to be imposed on salt has been made by supermarket chief and member of the Senate in the Irish Republic Feargal Quinn.
The founder and chairman of the 21-store Superquinn chain, speaking in a debate in the Senate, claimed that over-consumption of salt was recognised by health experts as a major cause of heart attacks and strokes. "We are all at fault," he said. "Some nasty supermarkets sell products which contain one day's intake of salt."
He recalled that "hundreds of years ago", there was a salt tax in Ireland and Britain, and added: "We should consider its reintroduction, though not just to raise revenue. The objective should be to discourage people from eating so much salt."
Another senator and member of the Irish Heart Foundation, Professor Ivan Perry, welcomed the tax call, claiming that Irish people use 10 grams of salt a day, when the upper limit should be three to five grams.
"A lot of salt is hidden," he said, "and we are unaware that it is in bread, breakfast cereals, cold meats and canned foods. The salt concentration in cornflakes is higher than in sea water."
Meanwhile, the chairman of an Irish parliamentary health committee, Batt O'Keeffe, has called for the introduction of a "fat tax".
to encourage the production of healthier food.