Salt campaign group calls for new nutrition agency

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Dispute: previously published figures showed average daily salt consumption to be lower
Dispute: previously published figures showed average daily salt consumption to be lower
A leading campaign group has called on the government to set up an independent agency responsible for nutrition, after it emerged that previously published National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) figures on salt had been adjusted.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) claimed that since the Food Standards Agency was forced to give up responsibility for nutrition by the coalition government in 2010, salt consumption in the UK had remained static.

It disputed the latest ND­­NS figures, published by Public Health England (PHE), which stated that average daily salt consumption had fallen from 8.5g in 2011, to 8g in 2014.

Average daily consumption

Previously published NDNS figures in 2011 showed average daily salt consumption to be 8.1g. CASH said it was “unclear” ​how PHE had recalculated the previously published result.

In the latest NDNS report, mention is given to an adjustment in figures “to take account of biases resulting from differences between surveys in laboratory analytical methods used for sodium”​ from the 2011 England urinary sodium survey.

It added: “The analysis provides a revised assessment of the trend in estimated salt intake over time.”

No significant drop

Despite the drop in salt consumption resulting from the change in 2011 figures, the latest NDNS report also noted that there had been “no statistically significant”​ drop in consumption since 2009.

The Food and Drink Federation used the revised 2011 figures to praise the industry for driving a “downward trend”​, albeit at a slower rate. It claimed its members alone had on average cut salt in their products by 8% since 2011.

However, CASH – which helped create the UK’s salt reduction programme in 2005 – slammed the Responsibility Deal set up by the government and the food industry in 2011 as a “tragedy”​ to public health, resulting in the death of approximately 9,000 people.

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