A healthy medium

I want to talk briefly about salt. But first I want to introduce myself as the new editor of Food magazine. Aimee Chanthadavong joins me as editorial assistant, and we look forward to continue bringing news, products and feature articles to the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Now about that salt.

Whether it comes from government, health-conscious agencies that buy commercial spots during prime television time, or marketers of our favourite processed foods, the message is clear: salt is going down. Okay that might be a bit hyperbolic. After all, the ingredient is a mainstay in our kitchens and on our tables. It brings out the flavours in the food we cook, and it helps preserve food so manufacturers can compete in the market. But it can also hurt us. Hence the mass of messages, distributed for the benefit of consumers, but really directed at the manufacturers of ready meals, snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages, breakfast cereals and anything else marketed to us as a convenient alternative to fresh food.

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), they’re listening. In a statement at the end of last month, the council said that the amount of salt in Australian-manufactured breakfast cereals and breads is being reduced by leading food manufacturers to improve the diets and health of Australians as part of an industry, retailer and government partnership called the Food and Health Dialogue. In its statement, the AFGC cited the work of Jacqui Webster, Elizabeth Dunford and Bruce Neal who published their survey of sodium contents of processed foods in the early this year. Their research found that many of Australia’s leading food and grocery manufacturing companies have made large strides forward in salt reduction.

However, they said that, while the numbers are improving, “more than one-half of Australian food subcategories have average sodium concentrations above corresponding UK FSA [UK Food Standards Agency] maximum salt targets, and there remains much to be done with food reformulation in Australia.” Webster offers some more information about Australian salt intake in this issue.

Continued attention on those manufacturers that are making a difference on the salt front, will eventually result in a responsible use by all manufacturers of salt in processed foods.

Send this to a friend