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Food Makers Pressurized to Reduce Salt

A global campaign, WASH - World Action on Salt and Health has been launched today against salt with the stated aim of preventing over 2.5 million deaths a year.//

194 medical experts in 48 countries have come together in WASH to pressurize food companies into reducing dietary salt intake to prevent high blood pressure.

The launch of the campaign coincides with a World Health Organisation summit in Paris to discuss the role of salt in global health, which begins tomorrow.

According to WASH the health implications of increased salt intake are backed up by research from a wide range of sources. Many scientists have pointed to high salt intake as the contributory factor towards hypertension which in turn is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) that is responsible for almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe.

CVD has been reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year.

The organization said, "It is estimated that reducing salt intake by 6g a day could lead to a 24 per cent reduction in deaths from strokes and an 18 per cent reduction in deaths from coronary heart disease, thus preventing approximately 2.6 million stroke and heart attack deaths each year worldwide."

In the UK, USA and Ireland over 80 per cent of salt intake comes from processed food, with 20 per cent of salt intake coming from meat and meat products, and about 35 per cent from cereal and cereal products.

WASH has therefore proposed that international food companies should reduce the salt content in processed foods and establish a uniform reduced salt level in each country in order to save lives.

It has been found that salt levels are also much higher in some countries than in others.

Naomi Campbell, WASH project coordinator said "Why should people in Colombia have to eat cereal packed full of salt if people in Italy can have the same product with a fraction of the salt content?"
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