The UK’s food industry has met just over half of its salt reduction targets, according to Public Health England’s (PHE) assessment report.

In 2014, the UK government set salt reduction targets for 28 food categories under the in-home sector. Retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, cafes and pub chains had to achieve the targets by 2017.

PHE asked all food companies to meet average and maximum targets for salt content per 100g, with the maximum targets ranging from 0.13g in canned vegetables to 3.75g in curry pastes. Over 50% of the salt in the country’s diet come from these foods.

UK Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: “While it is encouraging to see the food industry is making progress towards the salt reduction targets we set in 2014, we know there is more to do.

“That’s why we committed to further reducing salt intake in our prevention vision. Next year, we will put forward realistic but ambitious goals and set out details of how we will meet them.”

“While it is encouraging to see the food industry is making progress towards the salt reduction targets we set in 2014, we know there is more to do.”

Since 2006, salt reduction efforts have been ongoing, but progress towards meeting food targets was earlier self-reported by the food industry.

The latest PHE report is the first assessment using commercial data.

The report found that retailers are making better progress than manufacturers, and average salt targets were met in nine food categories, including breakfast cereals and baked beans. Meat products, however, did not meet any of the targets.

Four in five foods had salt levels either at or below the maximum targets.

For the out-of-home sector, maximum per-serving targets were set for 11 food categories including sandwiches, pasta dishes and children’s meals.

According to the report, seven in ten foods did not exceed maximum targets, while salt levels have been found to be generally higher in out-of-home products compared to in-home.

The salt reduction programme has helped to cut down the country’s salt consumption by 11% to 8 grams per day. This figure needs to be brought closer to the recommended 6 grams per day.

Excess salt consumption can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), considered to be one of the main causes of premature deaths in adults in the UK.

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