Manufacturers have reacted to Department of Health attacks by announcing further plans to reduce salt in products.
The move comes two weeks after public health minister Melanie Johnson rebuked 27 companies, including major brand names and supermarkets, for failing to draw up adequate plans for salt reduction.
She said industry provided too little detail and that salt levels had to be cut by up to 45% in products like sausages, bread and cereals. She also said industry plans to date meant items like pizza and ready meals would continue to contain unacceptably high levels of salt.
This week’s plans have been shared with the DoH and Food Standards Agency. They include a further 5% reduction in salt in sliced bread, bringing the total reduction to 27.5% since the late 1980s; a decrease of towards 25% in cereals by the end of this year, of which 16% has already been achieved in the past five years; and targeted reductions in meat categories.
Other categories committed to reductions include branded soups and meal sauces, snacks, and biscuits and cakes.
The Food and Drink Federation stressed that industry has made huge strides in tackling this issue but pointed out there was a limit on how much could be reduced in terms of food safety and technical aspects. A spokeswoman said: “There is also consumers’ acceptance of taste.”