The Department of Health (DoH) is reviewing its stance on potassium-based salt substitutes in food.

It has asked the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) to review the risks and benefits of the use of potassium chloride in time for setting new Responsibility Deal salt targets at the end of the year. The findings will be discussed at the next SACN meeting in October.

Currently the DoH does not recommend potassium based alternatives as a means to cut salt levels in  food, because they still provide a salty flavour, making it harder for consumers’ palates to adjust to low-salt foods. Also, potassium poses a health risk for people with kidney disease.

However, the food industry has been increasingly asking the DoH to reconsider this recommendation as some food producers would like to use, and in some cases are already using, potassium chloride, potassium-based raising agents and other salt replacers to achieve sodium reductions in foods.