Halt the salt in processed food

Friday, 03 May, 2019

Halt the salt in processed food

75% of the salt in the Australian diet comes from processed and packaged foods, and consumers are eating almost double the daily recommended intake.

Australian manufacturers are making some progress with salt reduction but overall we are lagging behind countries such as the UK, according to VicHealth Acting CEO Dr Lyn Roberts.

If Australia is to achieve its commitment to the World Health Organisation’s target of a 30% reduction in the average population salt intake by 2025, then we need to act now.

Launched today (3 May 2019) by the Heart Foundation and VicHealth as part of the Victorian salt reduction partnership, the Halt the Salt salt reformulation guide for food manufacturers is claimed to be an Australian first.

The best practice guide to salt reduction for Australia food manufacturers supports reduction of salt in processed and packaged products. It guides manufacturers through the reformulation process with information on checking nutritional composition, completing competitor benchmarking, establishing salt targets and time frames, product improvement and testing.

Leading nutritionist, reformulation expert and guide author Vanessa Clarkson said this new guide is particularly useful for small-to-medium food manufacturers.

“The food industry is constantly evolving to meet consumer demand, which increasingly is calling out for healthier choices,” Clarkson said.

“Food manufacturers looking to reduce salt in their products will find this guide a useful starting point for their reformulation journey. By working collectively and over time to reduce salt in the food supply, consumers’ palates will adapt to lower amounts and together we can have a big impact on public health.”

Heart Foundation CEO Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly welcomed the guide as timely with the federal government’s work to develop voluntary salt reformulation targets nearing finalisation.

“Our Reformulation Readiness guide provides a handy roadmap for Australia’s food manufacturers to embark on their salt reformulation journey,” Jolly said.

“Through our Unpack the Salt campaign we’ve sought to educate consumers while working with manufacturers and the federal government to adopt a population-wide approach to reducing salt in processed food and setting voluntary targets in key food categories.”

Dr Roberts said salt reformulation strategies are a “best buy” for improving Australia’s health.

“This guide is about supporting food manufacturers to work towards voluntary salt targets, backed by strong government leadership.

“The responsibility doesn’t just rest with the food industry alone, we need to work together — government, food manufacturers, public health bodies — to reduce salt in our food supply.”

Food manufacturers can find salt reformulation information and resources including Victoria Salt Reduction Innovative Grants up to $25,000, which are currently open and available for small-to-medium food manufacturers.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/fortton

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