THREE NEW salt pledges, specifically focused on the catering sector, have been announced by the Department of Health (DH).
The pledges, which are part of the Governments much-hyped Responsibility Deal on health, will encourage more companies to make their commitment to improving public health through salt reduction.
Seventy-seven businesses have signed up to the Responsibility Deal 2012 salt reduction targets, but there is still a long way to go to achieve the 6g of salt a day goal, said the DH.
With one in six meals eaten outside the home the catering sector has a vital role to play.
The new pledges, which have been developed by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), focus on procurement of salt to meet salt targets of 2012, changing kitchen practices and training and reformulation of the final meal on the plate.
Fifteen companies have already signed up to the pledges relevant to their businesses, including McDonalds, BaxterStorey and 3663.
Announcing the new pledges, Dr Susan Jebb, chair of the Food Network Responsibility Deal wrote in her blog:
These pledges commit companies to a 15% reduction in salt used in their kitchens, ensuring at least 50% of the products they procure meet the 2012 targets (and increasing further over time) and/or reformulating the dishes they serve to their customers to cut salt prioritising those which currently make the greatest contribution to salt intake.
We dont expect all businesses to sign up to all three pledges, but to select those which are relevant to their business model. And businesses that have signed up to the original salt reduction pledge to meet the 2012 salt targets will not be signing up to the procurement pledge, as they have already committed to work towards these targets.
The recent 2011 urinary salt survey showed salt intake to have fallen a further 0.5g since the last survey in 2008 to 8.1g a day. There is still a long way to go and the catering sector can play it part said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim.
Catering companies produce over eight billion meals a year and provides over one in six meals consumed in the UK. The industry is at the heart of the nations well-being and these pledges are a key element in the governments aim to encourage people to eat more healthily. The catering industry has a vital role to play in this.
Early signatories to the Salt Catering pledges
Pledge F5(a). Training and Kitchen Practice
BaxterStorey, Brookwood Partners, DC Leisure, Lexington Catering, Nestlé, Olive Catering Services Ltd, KFC UKI, Mitchell & Butlers Plc
Pledge F5(b). Reformulation of products as purchased by the customer
Dominos Pizza Group Ltd, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, JD Wetherspoons Plc, KFC UKI, Brakes, Mitchell & Butlers Plc
Pledge F5(c). Procurement
3663, BaxterStorey, DC Leisure, Mitie Catering Services Ltd, McDonalds Restaurants Ltd