The Salt Manufacturer’s Association (SMA) has told the Government it will contribute towards research to gather scientific evidence on the debate over salt and health.

In a letter to Melanie Johnson, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health, the SMA has highlighted its offer of a contribution in order to come up with a health policy for salt intake based on evidence-based scientific findings.

The letter follows the recent launch of The Food Standards Association’s £4m slug-led salt campaign, which encourages consumers to limit their salt intake for the benefit of their health. “The FSA would have us all believe that there is a consensus amongst the experts over the effects of salt on blood pressure,” says SMA general secretary, Peter Sherratt. “The reality is that there is a significant body of opinion in the UK and internationally that disagrees.”

The SMA noted that the Department of Health’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey confirmed there is little or no benefit to the general public in reducing salt intake. It also stated there is medical opinion that says the elderly, in particular, may even be at risk from reacting to advice to cut their salt intake as some elderly people suffer from sub-acute sodium deficiency.

“If you were introducing a new drug you would not be able to do so without the backing of proper research, so how can the Government justify changing the dietary habits of a nation when there is any doubt?” said Sherratt.