FSAI Salt Reduction Program – Ten Years of Progress
Written by Robert Coyle
The salt reduction program which was coordinated by the FSAI in partnership with food industry members, Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), Retail Ireland and various State bodies and organisations, was set up with the aim to achieve both a voluntary and sustainable reduced salt formulations across the food sector. The analysis of sodium consumption in Ireland, policy options and the resulting intake reductions was carried out by FSAI and Creme Global food scientists using the Creme Food model. The seminar brought together perspectives from all partners involved.
Dr. Godfrey Xuereb from the World Health Organization (WHO), began the seminar by congratulating Ireland on its progress in this area. Prof. Alan Reilly, Chief Executive, FSAI, highlighted that there have been substantial reductions across many food groups and sectors, in particular breads and breakfast cereals. Since efforts to reduce salt in processed foods began in 2003, the average daily salt intake in adults has decreased by 1.1g. Although a decrease can be seen, the average dietary salt intakes in Irish adults still exceed the recommended daily intake of 6g salt per/day.
Shane Dempsey from the FDII, spoke about their intention to launch a new ‘Livewell Platform’ which will drive this agenda forward and offers an opportunity to transfer responsibility for driving future salt reduction to the food industry where technically possible. FDII intends to monitor the impact of reformulation over the past five years and on an ongoing basis over the next five years.
While the reduction of salt in the formulation of products by industry members is key, there is a call for consumers to choose the low salt or salt free options and to reduce discretionary salt intake during cooking and at the table.
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