Salt warning should be explicit
Experts say salt shakers should carry tobacco-style health warnings.
The World Hypertension League has issued a position statement saying salt sold in supermarkets and salt shakers in restaurants should be required to carry a front-of-pack, tobacco-style health warning, as part of a more hard-hitting approach to dietary salt reduction.
“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death globally and excess salt consumption is the biggest culprit, estimated to cause over 3 million deaths globally in 2017,” says lead author Dr Norm Campbell, former President of the World Hypertension League.
“The World Health Organization established a target for countries to reduce sodium intake by 30% by 2025, and governments and the food industry have been working together to reduce salt in processed foods. However, urgent action now needs to be taken to raise consumer awareness of these dangers.
“Although many countries have started to look at a variety of public health measures to encourage people to eat less salt, we’re not aware of any that have required actual containers of salt to have warning labels,” he said.
Jacqui Webster from the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction agreed.
“Although most countries require sodium levels on labels in processed foods, they are difficult for people to interpret and don’t warn of any health risks,” she said.
“Health warnings on salt package and dispensers would be a simple, cost-effective way of conveying the dangers of salt to billions of people worldwide.”
The authors proposed the following wording for the warning: “Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure and promote stomach cancer. Limit your use.”