The Local Government Association (LGA) points out that only one restaurant group and a single fast-food chain have committed to new Department of Health (DoH) voluntary targets – launched almost five months ago – to slash salt in the 10 most popular high street dishes. These include chips, burgers, chicken portions, battered or breaded fish, pies, curries, beef steaks and grilled chicken, sandwiches, pasta meals and pizzas. The recommended target from health chiefs is that people consume no more than 6g total salt per day (about a teaspoon). Yet the latest DoH targets suggest a maximum of 6g of salt for just one portion – a traditional Italian-style pizza with cured meat toppings. Some restaurant and pub meals have been found to have even more salt – up to 9g.
The DoH targets were introduced in March as part of the Government's Responsibility Deal – a series of voluntary pledges by industry designed to tackle big health issues like salt and obesity. Too much salt can raise blood pressure which increases the risk of coronary heart disease. A person dies every six minutes from a heart attack in the UK.
Councils across the country are running innovative initiatives to reduce salt, which include setting up projects to work with restaurants, take-aways and fish and chip shops. See more on the LGA website.