Heart Foundation and NZFSA strike salt-reduction pact

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 10th June 2010

Board meetingA new agreement, aiming to reduce New Zealanders’ salt intake, was signed by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Heart Foundation yesterday.

The Memorandum of Understandin formalises the relationship between the two closely-linked organisations, allowing the two organisations to share information and avoid duplicating work.

“Our organisations are both dedicated to improving the safety and suitability of the food supply, and this agreement provides the framework for working together on common goals regarding salt reduction in the New Zealand food supply,” said NZFSA chief executive Andrew McKenzie.

New Zealanders’ salt intake is in excess of twice the recommended level, with around 80% of intake coming from processed foods. The NZFSA’s Nutrition Strategy will also focus on essential nutrients, such as vitamin D, and dietary fats.

Heart Foundation executive director Tony Duncan says in recent years many New Zealand food companies have successfully collaborated with the Heart Foundation to reduce salt in their products.

“Our goal is to target the leading sources of salt in our diet and support and encourage food manufacturers to reduce salt within key food categories,” said Duncan.

“This collaboration with NZFSA will lead to improved systems for gathering evidence and monitoring the health outcomes of this important work,” he added.

The New Zealand Total Diet Study, which NZFSA last conducted in 2003/04, estimated that the average New Zealander’s salt intake is in excess of twice the recommended level – with around 80% of our intake coming from processed foods.

NZFSA also shares information and resources with international agencies that are working to bring down their populations’ salt intake, such as Health Canada, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency and the New South Wales Food Authority. When new insights are gained from these partnerships, NZFSA feeds these back to the Heart Foundation.