Health chief says food firms should be made to display how much salt is in their products on the front of the pack
- Duncan Selbie has urged food firms to use a traffic-light style labelling system
- He said food companies have been slow in meeting targets for salt reduction
- The move is hoped to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes in the UK
Food firms are being urged to highlight the levels of salt in their products in order to help reduce the numbers of people dying from heart attacks and stokes.
The new move could see salt levels displayed under a traffic-light style labelling system whereby customers will able to make more informed decisions concerning their food.
The system, under chief executive of Public Health England Duncan Selbie, will inform shoppers if the food they are buying contains a high, medium or low level of salt.
Chief executive of Public Health England Duncan Selbie has said that food firms need to do more to help reduce the amount of deaths caused by the increased consumption of salt
While salt levels are already illustrated on packaging by some supermarkets, Mr Selbie believes firms must now go one step further in order to help tackle the dangerous amounts of salt in certain foods.
In an exclusive interview with the Observer, where he also demanded that the government stop cutting public health budgets, Mr Selbie said: ‘There’s much, much more that can still be done to reduce salt in food.
‘We’d be very supportive of labelling so people can easily see [salt content].
‘We support clear front-of-pack labelling using traffic lights, as it makes salt content clear.’
The new move could see salt levels displayed under a traffic-light style labelling system whereby customers will be able to see if the food they are buying has a high, medium or low levels of salt
He added that he was concerned about the painfully slow progress made by food companies in meeting the targets set out for salt reduction in 2014.
With salt consumption being connected to the increased likelihood of acquiring high blood pressure, the Public Health boss hopes the step will help reduce the single biggest cause of heart attacks and strokes.
With salt consumption being connected to the increased likelihood of acquiring high blood pressure Mr Selbie hopes the step will help reduce the single biggest cause of heart attacks and strokes
According to a report this month by the British Heart Foundation 152,405 people died from cardiovascular disease in the United Kingdom last year and more than seven million are estimated to be living with the disease.
Next month a report by Mr Selbie’s department will draw attention to the slow progress made by food firms in meeting their salt targets.