§ Mr. Paice
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he intends to accept the offer by the Salt Manufacturers Association to part-fund a review of the scientific evidence on dietary sodium intake; 
(2) if he will list the evidence on which he based his policy that there is a causal link between salt and hypertension. 
§ Yvette Cooper
[holding answer 24 July 2000]: The evidence on the relationship between sodium consumption and blood pressure was considered by the Government's advisory committee, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy in its 1994 report entitled "Nutritional Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease." COMA concluded that sodium intake appears to be an important determinant of blood pressure in the population as a whole at least partly by influencing the rise of blood pressure with age. A diet lower in common salt, which is a major source of sodium, and higher in potassium would be 993W expected to result in lower blood pressure and a smaller rise in blood pressure with age. COMA recommended a reduction in the average intake of common salt by the adult population from the current level of about nine grams per day to six grams per day.
Recognising that there are differences of opinion in this area, a workshop was organised at the Department's request by the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FPHM) in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation in December 1997 to consider the issues surrounding salt consumption and its effect on blood pressure and subsequent cardiovascular disease. The workshop endorsed COMA's advice, concluding that salt intake was one of a number of dietary and other lifestyle factors influencing blood pressure and that reducing salt intake would be an appropriate public health measure. We do not intend to review the evidence at this stage and therefore will not be accepting the offer of the Salt Manufactures Association.