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Why SA’s new salt laws are not enough

| Legislation

There will be less salt in the processed foods South Africans eat from June 30 2016 — but the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA says our eating habits still have to change.

"New legislation to reduce salt in processed foods comes into effect on June 30 2016‚" the foundation noted of regulations that reduced from 650mg to 400mg the salt content per two slices of bread‚ while breakfast cereals have to contain less than 500mg per 100g serving.

Other foods "affected include bread‚ breakfast cereal‚ margarines and butter‚ savoury snacks‚ potato crisps‚ processed meats‚ sausages‚ soup and gravy powders‚ instant noodles and stocks".

"The amendment to the foodstuff regulations was published in the Government Gazette in March 2013 A three-year implementation period was granted to allow time for manufacturers to experiment with reformulation and produce lower salt products that are still acceptable to consumers‚" a statement said.

A second set of lower levels comes into effect in 2019.

The foundation said that while Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s "groundbreaking bill … is an important step‚ it will not completely resolve our excess salt intake".

"South African consumers add on average 4g of salt to food at home.

"This alone nearly meets the World Health Organisation’s maximum limit of 5g, or one teaspoon, per day. There are also many foods that are not included in the legislation either. Salted peanut butter contains 800 times more salt than the unsalted variety.

"Excess salt intake can raise blood pressure‚ thereby contributing to heart disease‚ strokes and kidney disease."

TMG Digital

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