The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) has published new salt reduction targets for food manufacturers for products including bread, cakes, biscuits and snacks. The FSA has launched a public consultation on proposals that will make its voluntary targets stricter. They include tightening 2010 salt reduction targets for 85 categories of food and setting more challenging 2012 targets for 80 categories of food.

Bread manufacturers will be asked to reduce the amount of salt they use for 2012. While the FSA has suggested a 2012 target of a maximum of 0.93g of salt per 100g of bread, it is conducting research on whether this is viable.

Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers (FoB), said it will be consulting with its members on the targets follo-wing research results. He said: "We have emphasised to the FSA that there are technological challenges in going beyond the 2010 target... the industry needs to be able to bake bread 24/7, 365 days a year and produce premium products that people still want to buy."

Polson said he was encouraged that the FSA had acknowledged the good work done by the industry in meeting the 2010 targets.

FSA chief executive Tim Smith said: "The FSA is encouraged that action to reduce the average amount of salt we are eating on a daily basis is clearly having a positive impact. We recognise that the great steps taken by many manufacturers and retailers have contributed to this success." Smith said there was "still plenty to do" to lower salt consumption. The consultation will close on 31 October, 2008.

The government is keen for food manufacturers to reduce salt usage, as eating too much salt is a risk factor in developing high blood pressure.