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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Manufacturers lag behind retailers in compliance with salt targets

A selection of sausages and cold meats on display in a supermarket

Research on chilled cooked sliced meats has revealed that two thirds of these products sold by leading grocery retailers are high in salt (>1.5g/100g), with 35% failing to meet the national salt reduction targets. Meat and processed meat products are the second key contributor of salt intake in UK diets (26%). This new report, from the WIPH Research and Action on Salt & Obesity group, is based on 555 products from 38 companies, and shows that while 69% of retailer’s own label products in this category met salt standards, food manufacturers have made dismal progress, with only 37% of their products hitting the targets. Tesco is the leading retailer in compliance with the targets, with Waitrose lagging furthest behind (97% and 7% respectively). Wide variations in salt content among products (a 23-fold difference across all products assessed) demonstrate that vastly reduced levels of salt are achievable. Surprisingly, many products such as Parma Ham, chorizo, and traditionally cured hams, which have the highest overall salt content, are exempt from the UK voluntary salt targets. Action on Salt is calling for mandatory, comprehensive, salt reduction targets, with penalties for manufacturers who fail to comply.



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