Voluntary salt-reduction targets set by Australian government

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st February 2013

A new Agreement reached yesterday between food manufacturers, retailers and the Federal Government to reduce the levels of sodium in savoury crackers by set targets, has been welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing the Hon. Catherine King said that the agreement reached through the Australian Government’s Food and Health Dialogue will result in leading manufacturers and retailers reducing sodium in savoury crackers according to agreed targets.

The government salt-reduction agreement follows voluntary commitments by individual food manufacturers to reduce salt and sugar levels in various food products.

In November 2012, the Heart Foundation called for mandatory nutrition levels to be set in all Australian foods.

Last year the George Institute for Global Health examined around 28,000 products and found that in spite of voluntary salt-reduction commitments, salt levels had risen by an average of 9 per cent.

AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson said that the announcement underlines the value of initiatives where industry, governments and health organisations work together to improve the health of Australians.

“Industry supports the work of the Food and Health Dialogue and remains committed to the process of improving the nutritional value of commonly eaten foods by reducing salt, saturated fat and energy, and increasing fibre, wholegrain, fruit and vegetable content,” Mr Dawson said.

“Industry partnerships, yield far greater benefits than shoehorning industry into regulations that increase complexity and costs and generally result in perverse outcomes with little or no public health benefit,” Mr Dawson added.

Mr Dawson also noted that the food industry continues to invest in a number of initiatives that complement the Food and Health Dialogue, such as the Daily Intake Guide food labelling scheme, the industry commitment to responsible marketing of foods to children, and the Healthy Australia Commitment, an industry led, multi-year strategy to assist Australians to improve their health and wellbeing.

New standards for sodium levels in savoury crackers were agreed upon yesterday.