I recently attended the launch of the fourth phase of the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) salt reduction campaign. It was an impressively innovative event entitled The salt collection, consisting of an art-gallery stuffed with artistic portrayals of salt reduction activities instigated by the food industry, government and health charities.
As it is widely known, high salt intake contributes to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Although previous initiatives by the FSA and the food industry have led to a substantial reduction in salt intake, we still need further reductions to meet the 6g per day maximum intake. So the latest campaign aims to highlight the hidden salt in products and urges the public to check salt levels on food labels.
Industry support for the FSA campaign has been excellent, so I was dismayed to find that the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and certain food companies had withdrawn support for phase four because it included comparisons of branded and own-label foods.
I think that the FDF and FSA are both excellent organisations so I'm not taking sides. But for the campaign to be effective it needs support across the board from retailers, ingredient suppliers, caterers, manufacturers, charities, academia and of course research establishments. We need to concentrate on the bigger picture!
Leatherhead Food Research is in full support of the campaign, as are many of our members. We have just launched a call for collaborative research on salt reduction following feedback data from ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. We will be researching the effectiveness of salt replacers, the exploitation of salt crystallinity and the appliance of gradual salt reduction by stealth. Let us know if you have an opinion.
Dr Paul Berryman chief executive officer
Leatherhead Food Research www.leatherheadfood.com