The Fitness Zone
A compulsory restriction on the amount of salt allowed to be included in processed foods would be considerably more effective than a voluntary scheme with the same objective, according to recent Australian research.
A team from the University of Queensland looked at the Tick of approval' scheme whereby companies can buy a National Heart Foundation logo to display on their product in exchange for reducing that foodstuff's salt content high levels of which are associated with heart disease and stroke. The effectiveness of this voluntary scheme was then compared with a mandatory curb on salt, in relation to years of good health over a lifetime and how this would relate to savings on long-term health care costs.
While the voluntary Tick' scheme was found to be cost-effective and have the potential to reduce heart disease by almost 1 per cent, the researchers found that mandatory restrictions set by government could bring about an 18 per reduction if the population reduced its salt intake to the recommended limits of 6 grams maximum per person daily.
The study authors commented; If corporate responsibility fails, maybe there is an ethical justification for government to step in and legislate'.
However, the report failed to provide recommendations for exactly how government could go about doing this and did not explore the implications of enforced salt-reduction in foodstuffs, namely, the increased likelihood of consumers reaching for the salt cellar and liberally adding their own quota to low-salt meals.