Salty business

Last month, the UK government’s Public Health England organisation published its guidelines for voluntary salt reduction and recommendations by 2024. With the current average consumption in the UK of 8.4g per day, it falls above the 6g per day recommended. The government is also encouraging the industry to adopt voluntary calorie reduction guidelines to make it easier for British consumers to select healthier options, noting the high caloric content of some takeaway and restaurant food. It also excludes school foods, which is somewhat interesting.

Thanks to the Cheese Reporter in the US for summarising the new changes (or not) nicely:

“Voluntary salt targets for 2017 and 2024 for various dairy products include the two types of averages used are a processing average, which is used to account for ranges of salt levels that occur in a single product, and a range average, which is used to take account of a range of different flavours; targets are grams of salt per 100g:

“Cheddar and other similar “hard pressed” cheeses, including Cheshire, Lancashire, Caerphilly, Double Gloucester, Leicester, Derby, etc. The 2017 target was 1.75 g salt (range average) and 2g salt (maximum), while the 2024 target is 1.66g (range average) and 1.90g salt (maximum).

“Fresh” cheeses, including soft white cheese, flavoured or unflavoured, including reduced fat products but excluding cottage cheese, Brie, Camembert and other similar soft rinded cheeses: 2017and 2024 target are both was 0.5g (range average) and 0.68g (maximum).

“Mozzarella: (excludes fresh mozzarella sold in retail outlets) 2017 target was 1.35g salt (processing average), and the 2024 target is the same as the 2017 target.

“Blue cheese: the 2017 target was 2g salt (processing average); the 2024 target is 1.8g salt (processing average).”

As we know, dairy has been working hard on salt and sugar reduction, and it’s kind of nice to see that certain salt targets have remained the same. Although I do wonder about how the taste will be compromised for the 2024 guidelines for the hard and blue cheeses, as seen above. But the industry has been through this before and will no doubt manage it again.

This is the fifth version of these guidelines, which can be found here.

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