Consumer VOICE

CONSUMER VOICE URGES MINISTRY OF HEALTH TO AMEND FOOD LABELLING REGULATIONS TO DECLARE SALT LEVELS IN FOOD PRODUCTS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF CONSUMERS.

 

New International survey finds huge and unnecessary variation in bread. Consumer VOICE, India calls the government to get tough on salt reduction – these are some examples but it must be a strong call to action!

  • Some breads surveyed had as much salt as seawater 1
  • More than a third of breads worldwide have more salt than UK maximum salt reduction target for bread 2
  • Over half of breads surveyed have more than half a gram of salt per serving.

Bread features heavily in many diets worldwide, and is one of the biggest sources of salt in diets. A new survey 3 by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), based at Queen Mary University of London, has revealed the shocking levels of salt present in this essential staple. WASH surveyed over 2,000 white, wholemeal, mixed grain and flat breads from 32 countries and regions, and found that the saltiest bread in the survey – Rosemary Foccacia by ACE Bakery, available in Canada – had a shocking 2.65g of salt per 100g, which is saltier than seawater 1 ! In fact, more than a third (34%) of breads had more salt than the UK’s maximum salt target for bread (1.13g/100g) 2 As per mandatory Indian Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011,Nutritional Information or Nutritional Facts per 100gram or 100milli litre or per serving of the food product shall be given on the label containing the following:—

(i) Energy value in kilo calories;
(ii) The amounts of protein, carbohydrate (specify quantity of sugar) and fat in gram (g) or ml;
(iii) The amount of any other nutrient for which a nutrition or health claim is made.
Declaration of salt / sodium is not mandatory. Though few bread manufactures have declared sodium / salt
on the label voluntarily, which are as follows:

*Consuming 100 grams harvest Gold White Bread means one has met its 25%(1/4) daily requirement of salt.

Flat breads and wholemeal breads were more salty than other bread types in the survey, with an average salt content of 1.08g per 100g, compared to mixed grain breads, which had the lowest average salt content of 1.02g/100g. Worryingly, some flat breads had more than 1.50g of salt per portion, a third of the maximum daily intake of salt as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 5g) 4 .

Although mixed grain breads had the lowest salt content of the bread categories, there was still a huge variation within this category. The highest salt bread - Bread type "Tipov" with Many Seeds by Milena MK, available in Bulgaria - had a salt content of 2.50g/100g, compared to the lowest salt bread - Pan Real tipo integral by Konig, available in Costa Rica - with a salt content of 0.09g/100g, a massive 27-fold difference in salt content!

A recent survey by WASH 5 found that a third of respondents felt that the WHO could do more to encourage countries to lower salt intakes. However, the majority of respondents felt that their country’s government should take primary responsibility.

Ashim Sanyal ,COO ,Consumer VOICE says “Eating too much salt puts up our blood pressure, the major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Reducing salt intake around the world would save millions of lives each year .Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) which comes under Ministry of Health should amend Food Safety and Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011 for declaration of salt as a mandatory declaration in Nutritional Information or Nutritional Facts per 100gram or 100milli litre or per serving of the food products”.

About Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education (Consumer VOICE)

Consumer VOICE is one of the Leading Consumer Organisation in the India. Working under “Jago Grahak Jago” program of Ministry of Consumer Affairs besides other Ministries, Regulatory bodies, standards organizations, world bodies and Standing Committees of Parliaments. Our work of Comparative Testing for product testing and services evaluations are done for the masses. We are doing advocacy for all the
consumers to various authorities and consumers across India who is getting benefited from our work. Our magazines and website, besides educational workshops on various subjects are the tools of consumer education and empowerment across the nation and all consumers are getting benefited from our work.

About WASH

World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) was established in 2005 as the international arm of Action on Salt (formerly Consensus Action on Salt and Health, CASH), and is a global group with the mission to improve the health of populations throughout the world by achieving a gradual reduction in salt intake. WASH has the support of more than 500 members from 100 countries, who are mainly experts in hypertension, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease, but also work in public health and nutrition.

References
  1. Atlantic seawater contains 1.0g of sodium per 100g, which equates to 2.5g of salt per 100g
  2. Public Health England have issued guideline salt targets for over 80 categories of food, which the food industry
    are encouraged to follow on a voluntary basis. The maximum target for salt levels in bread and bread rolls,
    without high salt additions, is 1.13g/100g
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/604338/Salt_reduction_targets_for_2017.pdf
  3. Data on UK fresh, packaged breads were collected from all supermarkets (Aldi, ASDA, Co Op, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose) in October 2017.  Product data was collected in store from product packaging using the FoodSwitch Data Collector App, and where not available, captured online from the retailers’ website.
    Between August 2017 and January 2018, WASH members collected nutrition data from fresh, packaged white, wholemeal, mixed grain and flat breads and rolls, using information printed on packaging or available online via supermarket or manufacturers websites. In Oman, Saudi Arabia and Serbia,salt content was determined using laboratory analysis. 2,318 bread products from 32 countries and regions were included. Including data from Consumer VOICE ,India
  4. WHO recommended salt intake for adults is 5g/day:
    http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/77985/1/9789241504836_eng.pdf
  5. In January 2018, WASH issued a survey via Survey Monkey to WASH members, and placed on social media pages, asking for responses to the following questions:
  • What salt reduction activities are currently in place in your country?
  • Who is responsible for salt reduction in your country?
  • Is enough being done to lower salt reduction in your country?
  • Who should take more action to lower salt intake in your country?
  • Which country is setting the best example with salt reduction and could be used as a model for other countries?

WASH received 59 responses to the survey.

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