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Salt Reduction At Heart Of New Agreement

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Salt Reduction At Heart Of New Agreement

Aligning efforts to reduce New Zealanders' salt intake is at the heart of an agreement signed by The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and the Heart Foundation yesterday.

The parties have a long history of working together, but NZFSA chief executive Andrew McKenzie says signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalises the relationship and puts systems in place to help share information and avoid duplication of effort.

"Our organisations are both dedicated to improving the safety and suitability of the food supply and this agreement provides the framework for working together on common goals regarding salt reduction in the New Zealand food supply," Andrew says.

New Zealanders' salt intake is in excess of twice the recommended level - with around 80% of our intake coming from processed foods.

Heart Foundation executive director Tony Duncan says in recent years many New Zealand food companies have successfully collaborated with the Heart Foundation to reduce salt in their products.

"Our goal is to target the leading sources of salt in our diet and support and encourage food manufacturers to reduce salt within key food categories."

"This collaboration with NZFSA will lead to improved systems for gathering evidence and monitoring the health outcomes of this important work," Tony says.

The New Zealand Total Diet Study, which NZFSA last conducted in 2003/04, estimated that the average New Zealander's salt intake is in excess of twice the recommended level - with around 80% of our intake coming from processed foods.

NZFSA also shares information and resources with international agencies that are working to bring down their populations' salt intake, such as Health Canada, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency and the New South Wales Food Authority. When new insights are gained from these partnerships, NZFSA feeds these back to the Heart Foundation.

Dietary salt reduction is the first area of focus for NZFSA's Nutrition Strategy: the other areas focus on essential nutrients, such as vitamin D, and dietary fats supporting NZFSA's mandate to improve the safety and suitability of the food supply.

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