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Less salt in certain foods, sugar contents remain unchanged

Publication date: 06 April 2017
Modificationdate: 27 June 2017

The salt content in bread was on average 19 percent lower compared to 2011. In addition, certain types of sauces, soups, canned vegetables and pulses, and crisps had a lower salt content. Reductions vary from 12 to 26 percent. In addition, in a few food groups such as certain types of cold cuts, the saturated fat content was reduced. The sugar content in all studied food groups remained unchanged. This is shown by research on the contents of salt, sugar, and saturated fat in foods compared to 2011, published today by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

In the Netherlands agreements on the maximum amount of salt, saturated fat and sugars in foods have been made within the “National Agreement for Improvement of Food Composition 2014 - 2020”. Reductions were mainly found in food groups within  the agreement. The Agreement was signed in 2014 by the minister of Health, Welfare and Sports and representatives of the food, retail and hospitality sector withthe aim to make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices.

This research was commissioned by the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports. Similar research was performed in 2012 and 2014 in order to monitor developments in food composition. For the current study food composition data was obtained from chemical analyses by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the “Levensmiddelendatabank” (branded food composition database managed by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre and RIVM), and monitoring by sector organisations. These data were combined and compared to the composition in the 2011 version of the Dutch Food Composition Table (NEVO).

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