The Food Standards Agency has commissioned research into consumer undertsanding of salt labelling on food, ahead of proposed EU legislation to force all prepackaged food products to carry front-of-pack information highlighting salt content.

Key findings from the research included confusion among consumers over the relationship between salt and sodium, with a strong overall preference for the use of the term ‘salt’ rather than ‘sodium’ on labelling information.

Changes to salt and sodium labelling on food products are currently being considered both within Europe and worldwide. The European Commission is currently considering a proposal for a new regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which proposes food products carry front-of-pack information on energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates with specific reference to sugars and salt content.

Earlier this month, an Environment Committee of MEPs voted in favour of the draft legislation, with a second vote due in May.

A similar discussion is under way in the Codex Committee on Food and Labelling, which is currently considering the nutrients that should be listed on labels as part of the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

In February, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reported that bread is still the largest contributor of salt to people’s diets, accounting for 17% of salt intake for children and adults.