The first monitoring of reformulation of foods, introduced in 2012, focused on sodium and saturated fatty acids. The aim of the 2014 monitoring project (after the Agreement was signed) was to monitor salt (sodium), saturated fat, and sugars (mono- and disaccharides) contents of processed foods on the Dutch market between 2011 and 2014, for foods contributing more than 3% to respective daily intakes. It was designed to make use of the existing databases and monitoring structures. A number of steps were required to set up the monitoring – including, among others, identifying the food groups important for daily intake and defining reference values per food group, then collecting food composition data from industry and the food safety authority in comparison to the reference data.
Reports were delivered to the Ministry of Health early 2013 and 2015. Recent results suggest a reduction in salt levels in bread (loafs) and cheese spreads, but relatively static salt levels in luxury breads, bread replacements and cheese. There were no significant changes in other major food groups: meat (products), snacks (except potato chips, down 30%), sauces, soups and pastry. There were statistically significant changes in processed pulses/vegetables. It is important to establish whether the changes in food composition have led to a decrease in salt intake. This will be monitored using 24-hour urinary sodium excretion data *.