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Salt intake allowance set too high

25th November 2009

Concerns have been raised that the government’s maximum daily salt intake target has been set too high for people to avoid unnecessary stroke and heart deaths.

salt and sugar

The campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) wants the Food Standards Agency (FSA) target of 6g a day cut to 4g.

Estimates suggest the World Health Organisation’s 5g target could save four million lives a year worldwide, though the FSA is standing by its 6g level at a time that the adults in the UK average salt intake of 8.6g a day.

The dispute came as Italian and UK researchers say that people who regularly consume 10g of salt a day increase their stroke risk by nearly a quarter and their heart disease risk by about a fifth.

With stroke ending in death for a third of suffers and heart disease killing 20% of those who have it, the researchers say sticking to a recommended level of 5g a day could avoid 1.25 million deaths from stroke and almost three million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.

CASH says the majority of salt consumed is in purchased food with levels set by manufacturers.

Its chairman Professor Graham MacGregor, said: "All the evidence now points that the target should be set lower. Getting it below 6g would give more benefit.

"We knew it was important to cut salt intake and we wanted a target that the food industry would accept. But now it's clear that the UK target should be lowered."

 

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