With food companies still reeling from plans for a major clampdown on front of pack “red light” levels for salt, a new report has called for the government to go even further.

The report by the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and the London Medical School claims the Department of Health (DH) could help save millions of lives if it slashed the recommended daily level of salt consumption from its current 5-6g per day target.

Report author Professor Graham MacGregor claims halving daily consumption could prevent 35,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke in the UK and 2.5 million deaths globally.

In a review of 34 trials involving 3,000 adults to be published tomorrow in the British Medical Journal he says a “modest reduction” in salt consumption can lead to significant falls in blood pressure.

“Our analysis shows a dose-response relation — that is, the greater the reduction in salt intake, the greater the fall in blood pressure,” Professor MacGregor adds.

The National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) is aiming for a daily limit of 3g for the UK by 2025.

Last month The Grocer exclusively revealed the DH plans to lower the threshold for a red traffic light for salt by 25% under its plans for a universal front of pack labelling system, which could affect thousands of products, particularly ready meals and sandwiches.