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  • Health authorities push to pursue salt reduction in food

    Author: AAP

Health organisations are urging the Australian government to speed up efforts to reduce the amount of salt in the nation's processed foods.

A bottle of tomato sauce from a specific brand may look exactly the same on a supermarket shelf in the United Kingdom as it does in Australia.

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But health authorities say the UK bottle might contain less salt, due to Britain's targets for lowering the amount of the mineral in its foods.

Organisations such as the Heart Foundation have long pushed for similar targets here, a call the federal government responded to last month by releasing draft salt targets for a range of processed foods.

Now, health organisations are pushing for the targets to be set in stone and for the government to speed up its efforts to lower how much salt Australians eat, which is double the recommended intake.


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The call comes as new research shows it's not just health experts that are eager for Aussie foods to be less salty.

A VicHealth survey of more than 3000 Australians shows more than 70 per cent want home brand products to contain less salt, while 60 per cent would pick a low-salt product over its saltier version.

Heart Foundation Victorian chief executive Kellie-Ann Jolly says it's hoped the figures will provide comfort to the food industry that Australian customers are open to less salty products.

"Really, why should the consumers in Australia be consuming more salt than their colleagues in the UK?" Ms Jolly told AAP on Tuesday.

The foundation, along with VicHealth and the George Institute for Global Health, welcome the commonwealth's draft salt targets for 36 different foods, including bread and cheese, and wants them firmed up.

It also want leaders to monitor how much salt Australians are consuming and develop a broader national campaign for healthy eating.

The George Institute for Global Health's Dr Jacqui Webster said it seems like everyone across the political spectrum is keen to reduce how much salt Aussies consume, but they need to ramp things up.

"It's really just about strong government leadership," she told AAP.

Ms Jolly said Australia is already lagging behind some other nations and continuing to do so could be costly.

"We are losing people through the fact of high blood pressure and heart attack and stroke as a result of this, so we need to try and do this a lot quicker."


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