According to population surveys, low intake of salt (sodium) protects against high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer and cerebral stroke.Excessive intake of salt may also increase the risk of osteoporosis and make asthma symptoms more severe.
In accordance with the nutrition recommendations, eating food with lower salt content will be made easy for consumers.
Operators are encouraged to offer products that help consumers to adhere to salt intake recommendations and to observe the nutritional quality recommendations for salt in their purchases.
Salt content in foods is gradually reduced so that the population-level salt intake recommendations will be achieved over the long term. This will have an impact on salt intake and the liking for salty taste. Iodised salt is preferred.
When the salt content is reduced, it should also be ensured that the amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar and energy are not increased (EU Salt Framework).
Maximum salt intake
- 5 g/day (adults)
- 3-4 g/day (children aged 2–10)
- 0.5 g/MJ (children aged under two)
- no added salt (newborn infants)
In order to achieve the target, people in Finland must reduce their salt intake by 20 per cent by the year 2020, compared with the level in the Findiet 2012 survey. The Finnish target is in line with the targets laid out by the WHO.
Reference: THL. WHO targets for reducing high blood pressure will only be achieved if there are dietary changes and more effective treatments. The survey in brief.2015 (in Finnish)
The long-term target is that the salt content of the products that are central to salt intake is in accordance with the Better Choice Heart Symbol criteria.
Operators should introduce measures in the following food groups that are central to salt intake:
- Bread and cereal products
- Convenience foods
- Cold cuts
You can also make commitments for other products that are important in terms of reduced salt intake. For example, the salt levels of products considered strongly salted should be reduced in all food product groups.
We are taking the following measures to help consumers to reduce their salt intake
- The proportion of the products meeting the Better Choice Heart Symbol salt criteria will be increased, especially in the product groups that are used frequently, in large quantities and on a regular basis (daily). See also: https://www.sydanmerkki.fi/en/criteria
- Catering services must observe the meal-specific salt criteria laid out in the Finnish nutrition recommendations (in Finnish).
- In school meals, the nutritional quality criteria laid out in the recommendation Eating and learning together – recommendations for school meals are observed.
- The criteria specified in the recommendation ‘Korkeakouluopiskelijoiden ruokailusuositus – Terveyttä ruoasta’ (Dietary recommendation for students in higher education institutions - health from food, in Finnish) apply to student meals in higher education institutions.
Examples of commitments
Example 1: We will reduce the salt content of our bread products by eight per cent by the year 2020.
Example 2: We will reduce the salt content of our products so that 80 per cent of our spices and spice sauces will meet the Better Choice Heart Symbol salt criteria by the year 2020.
Example 3: We will reduce the salt content of our products so that in 2020, there will no longer be any strongly salted products in our product range.
Example 4: We will reduce the salt content of our strongly salted products by 15 per cent by the year 2020.
Example 5: We will reduce the salt content in our cold cuts by 0.1 g for each 100 g between 2017 and 2020.
Example 6: A total of 50 per cent of our soups will meet the Better Choice Heart Symbol salt criteria by the year 2020.
Example 7: The ten top-selling products in our cold cuts group will meet the Better Choise Heart Symbol salt criteria by the year 2020.