HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 c258W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer in relation to salt in nutrition. [127632]

Miss Melanie Johnson

This Government are committed to reducing population average intakes of salt, and as 75 per cent. of the salt comes from processed foods, has called on industry to take a meaningful lead in reducing the salt content of processed foods. The Chief Medical Officer's (CMO's) 2002 Annual Report urgedthe food industry—including manufacturers, retailers and caterers to drive down the salt content of food—a potentially life saving measure".

The Department along with the Food Standards Agency is holding meetings with food sectors representing the main contributors to salt intake and other key stakeholders to achieve this goal.

CMO endorses and supports the recommendation to reduce the population average intake of salt, which is the principle source of sodium, from 9g to 6g/day and the recent recommendations for children's salt intake by the Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition. Even a small reduction in sodium intake can help to reduce the burden of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease in our population.