Bad economy means salt reduction ‘gets low priority from food industry’

SALT levels remain high in processed foods as the economic climate means many businesses no longer see reducing levels as a priority.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is disappointed the food industry has lost interest in its voluntary salt reduction programme.

FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said that while the industry had made significant reductions in salt levels in processed foods, the current economic climate was forcing them to change their priorities.

“The catering and hospitality sectors are continuing to suffer in the economic downturn with many businesses tightening their belts and being forced to take further cutbacks. We are finding that many of these businesses are viewing salt reduction as a non-priority,” he said.

The FSAI’s voluntary programme was launched after its scientific report in April 2005 found that Irish people were consuming far too much salt.

Five companies and trade associations – Abrakebabra, Irish Hotels Federation, O’Donohue’s Bakery (Tullamore), Pallas Foods and the Restaurants Association of Ireland were removed from the programme because they had not made any new written submissions to the FSAI in the last two years.

And 20 out of 25 companies – most were independent bakeries and trade associations invited to join the salt reduction programme – declined the offer or did not respond.

Five new companies – Batchelors Ireland, Dew Valley Foods Ltd, Kelkin Ltd, Natures Best Ltd and Panelto foods have joined the 2010-2011 programme.

The FSAI said companies such as Irish Pride Bakeries, Kerry Foods, Carrolls Cuisine, Largo Foods, Aldi Stores Ireland, Kellogg’s Ireland, Lidl Ireland GmbH, Tesco Ireland and Heinz Ireland were to be commended for their progressive salt reduction programmes.

The food safety watchdog is encouraging consumers to use their purchasing power and opt for low salt products. Details of individual food businesses’ commitments are on www.fsai.ie.


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