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Salt and vinegar

A recent report suggesting that the salt content of a number of processed foods should not be reduced any further drew a bitter response from food campaigners.

The food industry called for a revision of the Food Standards Agency Salt Reduction Targets following the recent publication of a report by Leatherhead RA. In the case of bacon, the FSA targets require a reduction from the 2010 target of 3.13g per 100g to 2.88g on average.

The Leatherhead report, entitled 'Evaluation of Technological Approaches to Salt Reduction' , was commissioned by the Food & Drink Federation and the British Retail Consortium. In the case of meat products, the report highlighted the adverse effects of further salt reduction on both flavour and taste of the product as well as raising concerns about reduced shelf life – especially at a time when the EU Commission was proposing further reductions in the permitted nitrite content of processed meats. The report also highlighted that the use of alternative preservatives such as potassium chloride also had implications for taste as well as falling foul of current Department of Health guidelines. It also drew attention to the potential offered by new technologies such as ‘nanotechnology, to identify alternative approaches to the use of salt

Needless to say, the report drew predictable anger from the campaigning groups such as the Consensus for Action on Salt & Health (CASH), whose response can be read here.

Further fuel was added to the debate by the call by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) for the introduction of ‘traffic light’ labelling of food in view of the their information which linked the intake of salt with the heightened risk of stomach cancer. The WCRF release can be read here.