Food manufacturers are providing simple averages or sales weighted averages to help the Food Standards Agency (FSA) track progress on salt reduction, but most are against providing maximum and minimum salt levels above and below targeted levels.
The FSA has published a self-reporting framework to collect current data on salt levels in food as part of the push to get companies to meet the salt reduction targets set for 2010. It wants companies to submit data for the framework by October 10. This will be collated and published on the FSA’s web site.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said: “We commend the FSA in recognising the practical difficulties of providing sales weighted averages and creating a framework which allows provision of either sales weighted averages or simple averages.”
The FSA’s framework requests further detail such as maximum and minimum salt levels and percentage above and below its 2010 targets. However, the FDF notes that while a small number of its members are happy to submit such data, most question the value of FSA collating this information.
“We are pleased that FSA recognises the difficulties for large companies in providing data, and that they will accept data representing at least 80% of market sales for that category,” it said.
The FSA’s voluntary salt reduction targets for industry were published in March 2006. Their aim is to help reduce average salt intakes for adults to no more than 6g a day for adults and to help guide the food industry as to the levels of reduction that the FSA considers achievable.
The FSA plans to review the salt reduction targets next year and will be informed in this by the information provided through the framework.