Food makers "dragging their heels" on United Kingdom salt reduction targets - CASH

Norasit Kaewsai via Getty Images

Norasit Kaewsai via Getty Images

We've been working hard to do this for many years, and more than 3000 Sainsbury's own label products have been reviewed against the 2017 Salt Targets, with 90 per cent of these meeting the target for their category.

Almost 1500 bread products over seven years were studied, including loaves, crumpets and flat breads.

A survey carried out by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) found that the only food group likely to scrape into the 2017 target range is "bread and rolls".

"There has been a clear and welcome drop in salt levels in bread, particularly in those products that were covered by the salt reduction targets".

The product survey found that so far only bread rolls had met this year's target for the maximum amount of salt, although even in this category the average target is still being missed. However, it said this wasn't an across-the-board result, with the salt content increasing in the products of some brans, such as Mountain Bread Company (333 to 432 mg/100 g - up 30 per cent), Old Time Bakery (110 to 294 mg/100 g; up 167 per cent) and Freedom Foods (535 to 584 mg/100g; up 9 per cent).

Ms Farrand stated, "Whilst it is important to look at the salt content, it's also worth noting these breads are a good source of fibre so do have something to offer in terms of dietary needs".

Not surprisingly, Mission's Chapattis Garlic contained a staggering 2.3g of salt per 100g, while it's white tortillas are thought to be the healthiest option. "Increased funding for pre-competitive research would help companies overcome shared barriers to further salt reductions".

"Limiting the amount of salt in our most consumed foods would not only save lives, it would also reduce the burden on the Australian health system".

On average, adults in the United Kingdom eat about 8.1g of salt - that is, 3.2g sodium - a day, way above the recommended 6g (2.4g sodium).

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Most people took one third more than the recommended intake which leads to high blood pressure, putting strain on the heart, arteries, kidneys, and brain and eventually leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.

The campaign group called on United Kingdom health authorities to "immediately ensure" that the 2017 goals are met and that new salt reduction targets are set for 2020.

A spokesperson for Baxters told The Huffington Post UK: "Baxters has almost 50 varieties of soup products many of which are within the current guideline levels for salt content".

Processed and packaged foods account for around 75 per cent of salt in the diet of Australians. "So for example, if 80 per cent of the population are eating those breads from the major manufacturers and those breads comply, then we don't necessarily have a major problem with those few consumers who are buying the more boutique-style breads that seem to be higher in sodium".

"And we were able to see for breads which did actually have salt targets, about 81 per cent of bread products met those targets".

PHE says it's encouraging the food industry to do more to meet targets by the end of this year.

All of the study information on salt in bread and bread products is now included in the George Institute's FoodSwitch app.

Readymade soups, lasagnes, sandwiches and other dishes are also high in salt.

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