Bread and Cereal Industry to reduce salt by 2013

The bread and cereal manufacturing industries will begin reducing the salt content in their products as part of a three-year plan developed by the Food and Health Dialogue to target obesity.

At the latest Dialogue meeting – held last Friday in Canberra – government officials, Industry members and public health groups set targets to reduce the salt content of more than 100 bread products by 2013. Kellogg’s, Sanitarium, Cereal Partners Worldwide, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have also committed to reducing the sodium content of an additional 20 products by 15 per cent by 2013. According to the Dialogue, bread and ready-to-eat cereals contribute to almost 30 per cent of the salt consumed in the average Australian diet.

The Food and Health Dialogue was established by the Australian government in 2009, following results from the 2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, which revealed Australian children were consuming too much salt, sugar and saturated fat.

The Australian Government Parliamentary Secretary for Health Catherine King, who chaired last week’s meeting, said obesity in Australia was a “significant burden” on the national health system and workplace productivity.

"It was estimated that the combined cost to society in 2008 of obesity was around $58.2 billion for the year,” Ms King said.

"In April 2008 Commonwealth, State and Territory Health Ministers agreed at the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (AHMC) to make obesity a health priority area recognising that curbing obesity and the promotion of healthy eating was a shared responsibility.”

The Dialogue aims to establish salt-reduction targets for the processed meats, poultry, simmer sauces and soups sectors next year. 

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