The food manufacturing industry is proactively addressing salt levels in foods, says the AFGC's CEO, who dismisses recent claims by Choice that salt levels in some childrens' foods are "unacceptably high".
Consumer group, Choice, used data provided by The George Institute for Global Health, in reviewing the nutritional content of more than 240 products aimed at, or likely to be consumed by, children. Of those, 20 percent were classified as high in salt, nearly 60 percent had medium levels and 20 percent were classified as low in salt.
Choice referred to the salt levels as "unacceptably high" and was also concerned that childrens' breakfast foods and lunchbox items are being marketed as healthy products when in fact this may not be the case.
AFGC CEO, Gary Dawson, said "Levels of salt and other nutrients and energy are clearly displayed through the industry led Dietary Intake Guide (DIG) thumbnails on a wide variety of foods, including snack foods.
"While the most recent data from the 2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey tells us that breakfast cereals contribute only about four to five percent of Australian childrens’ sodium intake."
The food manufacturing industry is committed to improving the health of its products, by reducing salt and saturated fat, and increasing fibre, wholegrain, fruit and vegetable content, says Dawson.
Just last month Dawson welcomed the announcement - part of the Food and Health Dialogue - that food manufacturers, retailers and the federal government had united in their commitment to reduce sodium levels in savoury crackers.
"The AFGC and industry’s partnership with government, through the Food and Health Dialogue is supported by the Healthier Australia Commitment which aims to reduce sodium and saturated fat 25 percent and 12. percent energy in products and to promote healthier diets and increasing levels of activity," he said.