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Bakers hit back at salt claims

Bakers hit back at salt claims

The Federation of Bakers (FoB) has hit back over claims from the consumer group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) that the level of salt in packaged bread is still in need of further reductions in order to prevent heart attacks.

In a report published in the British Medical Journal Open online, CASH had initially claimed that a lot of products were still below government targets, with the levels of salt in many packaged bread still too high.

It was particularly critical of branded bread, suggesting that over half of such items failed to comply with acceptable salt content levels, in comparison to just ten per cent of supermarket own-label items.

It claimed that cutting the salt content down to 0.9g/100g (a target met by 27 per cent of products in 2011), would lead to 1,200 heart attacks each year.

The group's chairman, Graham McGregor, said: "Bread is the single biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet and it is vital that we set challenging targets for the bread industry in order to save the maximum number of lives."

But the FoB has claimed that the figures obtained by CASH are currently out of date.

In a statement it responded by saying that all of the targets set out for had been met.

It explained: "100g of branded sliced bread now contains just 0.4g of sodium (1g of salt) with the contribution of salt in bread to the diet estimated to be just 12 per cent.

"Since 2004 there has been a 27 per cent reduction of salt in branded bread."

The statement comes a month after key figures in the industry acknowledged that more needed to done in order to improve the image of sliced bread within the media.

CASH did recognise in its research that salt levels in bread sold in UK supermarkets between the years 2001 and 2011 have fallen by 20 per cent.

The subject of salt levels was discussed by the World Health Organisation in May, ruling that all countries should look to reduce salt consumption by 30 per cent.

 

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