• The Neverending War on the White Stuff

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    It’s been
    a bad year in many ways, what with the recession and all. But I
    suspect that, in the future, we will look back on 2009 with some
    fondness, because this will be the last year that food tastes of
    anything. Well, it will be if the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA)
    gets its way.

    This week,
    the FSA published new targets for food manufacturers on the salt
    content of their products, which must be met by 2012. The eventual
    aim is to get each adult’s intake of salt down to no more than
    six grams per day. At present, according to the FSA, the average
    intake is 8.6 grams. That’s down 0.9 grams per day since the
    start of the decade, but it still leaves a long way to go. The new
    targets focus on 80 categories of products, including bread, meat
    products and cereals, as well as convenience foods such as pizza,
    readymade meals and savoury snacks.

    Health campaigners
    have already declared their dissatisfaction with the new goals.
    Alex Callaghan of the British Heart Foundation told the BBC: ‘We
    are still moving at a snail’s pace. At the current rate of
    reduction, it would take us 15 years to reach the 6g per day target,
    putting another generation at risk of high blood pressure and heart
    disease.’

    On the other
    hand, food makers have expressed concern at the new targets. Julian
    Hunt of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents the
    major processed food producers, said its members were keen to implement
    the salt-reduction policy ‘where technologically possible,
    safe and acceptable to consumers’. However, reformulating products
    in such a way that consumers will still enjoy them would require
    finding new processing and ingredient solutions, said Hunt, adding:
    ‘We believe that targets are a relatively simplistic approach
    to driving progress.’ Stephen Robertson, director general of
    the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘The new salt targets
    are much harder and, in some cases, we believe customers won’t
    accept the change in taste.’

    Read
    the rest of the article

    May
    23, 2009

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