The salt reduction toolkit

The Trading Standards Institute has produced a 'salt reduction toolkit' to provide local authority food officers with the information they need to work with food businesses in reducing the amount of salt they put into food.

The toolkit, written in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency as part of its salt reduction programme, will be web-based and hosted by the TSI as a living document that will be fine-tuned as more work on salt reduction is carried out.

Salt intake has been strongly linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), which renders a sufferer three times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke and twice as likely to die from those diseases. Around sixty per cent of all strokes and fifty per cent of all heart disease is due to raised blood pressure.

It is estimated that reducing salt intake to no more than 6g a day (from the current average of 9g a day in the UK) would proportionally lower blood pressure levels to a point that would contribute to a decrease in the burden of cardiovascular disease.

Food officers have real potential to improve the health of their community with their unique role in visiting all food manufacturers and caterers and raising issues relating to food standards. No other body is able to do this in the same way. The White Paper 'Choosing Health' clearly identifies Trading Standards and Environmental Health Services as health practitioners with a responsibility to improve public health.

The toolkit sets out the function of salt and its effects, including suggestions to help reduce salt. It details

  • The role of food officers and provides
  • examples of salt reduction projects already being carried out by food authorities. It also provides
  • useful contacts for officers to use as part of any salt reduction initiative.

Salt reduction projects are a good way to get food services included in the next round of Local Area Agreements. They provide cross-cutting projects via the opportunity to work with partners within the local area such as local Primary Care Trusts.

The salt reduction toolkit (2nd Ed) in full colour. This is a large PDF (3.2MB), 33pp, with a foreword by Dame Deidre Hutton CBE, Chair, Food Standards Agency

© 2008 itsa Ltd on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute.