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Table 3 Existing and planned policy actions in relation to salt within 30 European countries

From: Smorgasbord or symphony? Assessing public health nutrition policies across 30 European countries using a novel framework

Country Action: Salt
  Price (Legislation/regulation/subsidies) Product (Reformulation) Place (Schools, workplace, other settings) Promotion (Labelling/guidelines/advertising controls/campaigns
Austria   Salt Reduction Program "Less Salt is Healthier" ("Weniger Salz ist g’sünder") Joint initiative between Ministry of Health and the Industrial Bakers of Austria. Aims at reducing the salt content in bakery products by 15% by 2015. Dialogue with food industry bread, meat, ready meals. Guidelines for school catering. Since the beginning of 2012 the implementation of these guidelines take place as part of the initiative "Our School Catering" ("Unser Schulbuffet"). Salt reduction in National Nutrition Plan 2011. Dietary salt target.
Belgium Legislation since 1985. 2% maximum salt content in bread.   Salt Strategy: Stop Salt (self-regulation adopted by food industry, distribution sector, restaurant and catering school sector). Salt Strategy: Stop Salt Self-regulation adopted by food industry, distribution sector, restaurant and catering school sector.
Bulgaria 2009: Ordinance established to reduce salt content of foods in school canteens. For 2011–2012, an updated ordinance includes healthy nutrition and salt reduction in kindergarten school canteens.   Special ordinance for healthy nutrition at schools 2009 and 2011. Food products with a high content of salt are not allowed. Salt strategy/policy included in the National Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2005–2010. The 2007 National Salt Initiative set a target for consumption of 5 g/day.
Cyprus     Dialogue with industry regarding reduction of salt content in bread.
Czech Republic   Gradual reduction of sodium levels in dried soups and sauces to 50% of the Guideline Daily Amounts i.e. 1.2 grams of sodium or less.   
Denmark     New strategy to reduce population salt intake adopted 2011–12.
Estonia   Salt policy included in National Health Plan 2009–2020 and in the National Strategy for CVD 2005-2020.   Industry led discussion.
Finland National legislation on compulsory ‘warning labelling’ of high salt foods since 1980s. Tightened 2009. Upper limit to salt content of eligible products e.g. cheese 1.3%. 2011: Quality criteria to obtain subsidies for meals at university restaurants renewed, contain limits for salt in main meals and all meal components.    Foods that are high in salt are required to carry a "high salt content" warning. A "high salt content" must be labelled, if the salt content is more than 1.3% in bread, 1.8% in sausages, 1.4% in cheese, 2.0% in butter, and 1.7% in breakfast cereals or crisp bread.
France   Bakery industry reducing salt in bread. Dietary salt target.   
Germany    Recommendations to reduce salt intake are included in all national quality standards for meals in schools, kindergartens, homes for the elderly, canteens at the work place, food on wheels-services. Nutrition considered a comprehensive approach within the line of the national "In Form" Action Plan. A dialogue with industry will be taken up where considered necessary.
Greece Legal requirement re: max level of salt permitted in bread, tomato juice and tomato concentrates/ purees since 1971. Max level - nutrient profiles that serve as the scientific basis for legislation regarding the list of foods allowed to be sold in school canteens include maximum sodium level requirements. Level of sodium in biscuits: 0.5 g/100 g since 2006. Hellenic Food Authority working with food manufacturers to reformulate processed products high in salt. Nutrient profiles that serve as the scientific basis for legislation regarding the list of foods allowed to be sold in school canteens include maximum sodium level requirements. Salt strategy mentioned in the Action Plan for Implementation of the National Nutrition Policy.
Hungary Codex Alimentarius Hungaricus modified salt content for bread and some other bakery products (on dry matter).    Dietary salt target. Salt included in in Hungarian National Nutrition Action Plan 2010–2013.
  Tax: Act CIII on public health product tax: salty snacks with salt content exceeding 1 g/100 g and condiments (soup and other powders, artificial seasonings) above 5 g salt /100 g (2011). Max level ‘Nutritional recommendation for mass caterers’ draft proposal for a ministerial decree - Recommendation issued (ministerial decree is in progress).  
Iceland   Setting benchmarks for salt reduction, reformulation.   Multilevel awareness raising public campaigns; cooperation with the food industry; and monitoring and evaluation.
Ireland     Salt strategy included in Changing Cardiovascular Health, National Cardiovascular Health Policy 2010–2019. Dietary salt target.
Italy   July 2009 - Voluntary Agreement between associations of craft bakers and plant bakers and Ministry of health to reduce salt content in some of their products. Ref: P. Strazzullo, G. Cairella, A. Campanozzi, M. Carcea, et al. for the GIRCSI Working Group 1.   National salt reduction initiative since 2008 in line with EU target of 16% Reduction by 2013. Population based strategy for dietary salt intake reduction: Italian initiatives in the European framework Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 22(3) 2012 161-166.
Latvia Dietary standards in schools, kindergartens, long-term social care institutions and hospitals (2012).   Salt maximum level - Dietary standards in schools, kindergartens, long-term social care institutions and hospitals.  
Lithuania Course of action for Nursery school, Primary and Secondary school children and Foster Home Nutrition, article 17 prohibits confectionary which contains sodium >0,4 g/100 g (2011).   Salt maximum level - Dietary standards in schools, kindergartens, long-term social care institutions and hospitals. Dietary Salt Target
Luxembourg     As of 2008 initiatives discussed with bakers and butchers federations.
Malta   Dialogue with industry to reduce salt began in 2010. National salt reduction initiative focuses on bread only by 2012.   Salt mentioned in a Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs in Malta 2010.
Netherlands Bread max. 2.5% salt on dry matter, tightened to max. 2.1% salt on dry matter (1.8% salt in flour). 2013 it will be tightened again to 1.8% salt on dry matter (1.5% in flour).    
Norway     Banned all food advertising targeting children aged younger than 12 years since 1990.
National salt initiative reduction is linked to the Action Plan on Nutrition (2007–2011), "Recipe for a healthier diet".
Poland     Salt reduction included in the National Prevention Programme of Overwieght, Obesity and Non-communcable Disease through Diet and Physical Activity Improvement 2007–2011 and the national Health Programme 2007–2015.Dietary Salt Target
Salt initiatives being developed as of 2010. Ministry of Health financed salt reduction programme 2009–2011.
Portugal Tax introduced 2012 for VAT on salty products. Law adopted August 2009 to set the maximum content of salt in bread.   Law adopted August 2009 to set the maximum content of salt in bread and enact guidelines for the labelling of pre-packaged foods for human consumption, compelling the inclusion of visible data on the relative and absolute quantity of salt on the packaging.
  Voluntary Initiatives with the food industry. Voluntary Initiatives with the food industry.
Romania Ministerial Order 1563/2008: Food with salt content above 1.5 g salt/100 g or 0.6 g sodium/100 g not allowed to be sold in schools. The Ministry of Health and Romalimenta are in the process of signing an agreement for the reformulation of foods with salt. Voluntary reformulation meat and bread products by industry. Ministerial Order 1563/2008: Food with salt content above 1.5 g salt/100 g or 0.6 g sodium/100 g not allowed to be sold in schools.  
Slovakia National legislation, focus on maximum level of salt in some food categories since 1996. Currently preparing an amendment. Voluntary by some food business operators.   Salt strategy mentioned in the National Obesity Prevention Programme.
Slovenia Nutritional recommendation for salt content in bread and meat products since 2010.    Discussion with food industry (Chamber of Commerce) started in 2009 with a seminar in April 2010. The National Action Plan for Salt was adopted in July 2010. And a national salt campaign was launched in May 2010 to March 2011. Salt strategy included in National Programme of Food and Nutrition Policy 2005–2010. Salt specific programme.
Spain   Voluntary by industry. Agreement with Bakery Confederation regarding salt reduction in bread.   Salt strategy mentioned in the Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Obesity (NAOS) (Schafer Elinder and Bollars).
Sweden     Banned all food advertising targeting children aged younger than 12 years since 1990.
  Government has dialogue with food industry as of 2010. Salt strategy/policy mentioned in "Healthy Habits and Increased Physical Activity", the basis for an Action Plan.
Switzerland   Negotiating with industry to reduce salt in bread and processed foods.The big food manufacturers and retailers made commitments in line with the EU Framework.   Salt strategy 2008 – 2012 included public awareness campaigns and a commitment to work with the food industry.
UK Wales: max level - mandatory requirements for foods vended in hospitals requiring hospital caterers to vend lower salt products (as defined by FSA traffic light labelling criteria). England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales: Voluntary by industry. Wales: max level - mandatory requirements for foods vended in hospitals requiring hospital caterers to vend lower salt products (as defined by FSA traffic light labelling criteria). A voluntary consistent system of front-of-pack food labelling has been introduced: A combination of colour coding and nutritional information is used to show how much fat, salt and sugar and how many calories are in each product.
  As part of the government’s Responsibility Deal, 49 companies/retailers have agreed to provide calorie information on menus and display boards. Although voluntary, the label must follow a standard government model. Since November 2006, Ofcom, an independent communications regulator in the UK, announced a ban on television advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar during children’s airtime and around programmes with a disproportionately high child audience.
   England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales:; National Salt reduction strategy.
  1. Data current to end of February 2013.
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