Food Firms Told To Cut Salt In Popular Dishes
Food companies will be asked to put less salt in popular dishes such as sandwiches and chips as part of a new government drive.
The campaign aims to reduce people's salt consumption by a quarter, reducing their daily intake from an 8.1g a-day average to 6g.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry launched the new strategy which will set food companies lower targets for the amount of salt they put in their foods.
New maximum targets will be set for popular dishes and the catering and takeaway sector should "do more" to reduce salt quantities, the Department of Health said.
The department said it wanted more companies to sign up to the Government's salt reduction strategy under the Responsibility Deal.
It comes after a 2012 ComRes poll of 1,805 English adults showed that more than half the public (53%) rarely or never consider the amount of salt when buying food, despite more than four in five people (86%) knowing too much salt is bad for their health.
Ms Soubry said: "The voluntary approach is working and we have already seen results in our everyday foods, but to get the greatest impact, we need more companies pledging to reduce salt levels, particularly in the catering and take away sector."
Responsibility Deal Food Network chair Dr Susan Jebb said: "It's essential we maintain momentum in our efforts to reduce salt in our diet if we are to prevent the many thousands of premature deaths each year from stroke and heart disease linked to eating too much salt."
Consumer campaign group Which? called on the Government to "name and shame" companies who do not sign up to new salt targets and to change the law if voluntary action fails.
Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: "The Government needs to establish these new salt reduction targets as soon as possible, name and shame companies which don't respond and be prepared to legislate if voluntary action fails."