Public Health England’s salt targets
Since 2004, Public Health England (PHE) have been releasing salt targets with the aim of decreasing the amount of salt that we consume.
Eating too much salt can have detrimental impacts on your health, it can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease and strokes (NHS).
PHE have been publishing salt targets since 2004. The last salt targets were published in 2014 with a 2017 goal. This year, new salt targets have been made with a goal to be reached by 2024.
The 2024 targets have been based off the 2017 targets which consisted of reduction targets set per 100g of food for all sectors. The average and maximum targets have since been revised, new food groups have been implemented into the scheme and updated sub-category definitions have been added.
Different targets have been made for each sector. Retailers and manufacturers have one set of salt targets they must meet, and eating out, takeaway and delivery have another set.
An option that PHE have reviewed is the use of salt replacers in foods to reduce the overall consumption of salt. However, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) have found that, overall, the benefits of using a sodium replacer do not outweigh the potential risks. For more information click here.
This being said, businesses can still use salt replacers, but PHE are advising to reduce salt gradually by reducing the overall saltiness of products to allow people’s palates to adjust, rather than using replacers.
By 2024 all salt targets should be reached. However, if 95% of a business’s products or volume sales have reached the targets, and effort has been made in the remaining 5%, they can say they are compliant with the 2024 salt targets.
Retailers and manufacturers have 28 broad categories and 76 sub-categories all with their own salt targets.
Salt targets for the eating out, takeaway and delivery sector are put in place to limit the salt in popular meals and dishes. There are 11 food categories (24 sub-categories) based on the most popular food groups brought when eating out.
Children’s meals all have the same targets for 2024 no matter what the dish is, that is a maximum of 1.71g salt of 635mg sodium per meal.
Some products on the market need salt in order to ensure product quality and safety.
For the products that don’t have updated targets (bacon, ham, mozzarella (used in food products) blue cheese, lightly salted butter, canned tuna and canned salmon). Any new products created should use the average amount of salt that other products on the market have as the maximum amount of salt they can use (PHE 2020).
The salt in cheddar and other “hard-pressed” cheese need salt to maintain the correct moisture ratio; it is argued that the 2017 target was the minimum level of salt needed for product stability and microbiology safety.
Products that require a certain amount of salt may struggle to meet the new guidelines, however, health NGO’s say that they “provided examples of lower salt products in the majority of sub-categories as evidence that further salt reduction was possible in most instances.”
How we can help!
At NT Assure we have services that can tell you how much salt is in each dish so you know that you are being compliant.
Smart Supplier is the industry leading software as a service (SaaS) which manages all product data. For food businesses, it is a place to track products from each supplier to stay on top on your supply chain.
As well as salt targets, Smart Supplier can tell you if your products are staying compliant with other guidelines, such as calorie reductions and sugar reductions. Smart Supplier also has reporting features to view your data in easy to understand tables.
If you are looking for a product specification management system to take control of your supply chain and ensure you are meeting the 2024 salt targets, get in touch!
Call us on 01933 272089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to one of our team.
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