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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

Reaching for the salt? Think again: Irish people still eat too much, say food experts

People in Ireland are still adding too much salt to their food at the table, according to the experts.

Don't try this at home
Don't try this at home
Image: Man eating salt via Shutterstock

WE MAY BE bombarded with messages about healthy eating every day but Irish people are still eating too much salt, according to food safety experts.

A conference held by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland heard that people in Ireland still eat more than the recommended daily intake of 6g of salt a day –  despite concerted efforts to reduce the amount of salt in food over the past decade.

The conference heard that the average daily salt intake of an adult in Ireland has decreased by 1.1g over the past decade as the amount in processed food has decreased, but consumers continue to add it to food.

Around one third of the average person’s salt income comes from adding it during cooking or when the food is on the table, despite salt’s link to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of premature death.

The head of the FSAI, Professor Alan Reilly, said the onus has been on the food industry to take responsibility for reducing salt in food – which, he said, has yielded “significant reductions” in the amount contained in food.

“The past ten years of salt reduction has provided us with important lessons in how best to broach the issues related to the overall nutrient profile of our food and the impact that it is having on public health,” he said.

Reilly called for the food industry to “drive its own programme of reformulation of all foods” in a bid to reduce salt, as well as unnecessary sugar and fats.

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