HONG KONG October 2019
 
7 Hong Kong bakeries to reduce salt content in Bread
 
Seven Hong Kong bread manufacturers have pledged recently to reduce salt levels in their prepackaged bread under a voluntary scheme launched by the government's advisory body on food health.
The Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food, chaired by Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan, announced the move. Under the scheme, the 7 manufacturers including chain stores such as A-1 Bakery, Maria's Bakery, Park n Shop and Saint Honore Cake Shop will follow a voluntary reduction target of 380mg of sodium for every 100g of prepackaged white bread and wholemeal bread on average in a year. The maximum target amount of salt will be set at 490mg/100g in white bread and 470mg/100g of wholemeal bread.
Dr Henry Ng Chi-cheung, principal medical officer for risk assessment and communication at the Centre for Food Safety said, “The voluntary target is needed because, as we all know, too much salt in our diets will lead to a number of health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke and kidney diseases.”
Based from a 2014/15 health survey, Hongkongers between the ages of 15 and 84 have an average daily salt intake of 8.8g, more than the 5g recommended by the World Health Organisation. Some 6% of sodium consumed by adults comes from bread, while white bread and wholemeal bread are the most and second most consumed types of bread by Hongkongers.
The Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food was set up in 2015 to promote healthier diets. Last year, the advisory body rolled out voluntary salt and sugar labels on the city's packaged food and drink to give more dietary information to the public.
Dr Ng noted that the government had talks with more than 10 bread suppliers, but only 7 eventually signed up to the scheme, which did not include the city's biggest bread manufacturer, Maxim's.
Dr Ng added that non-prepackaged bread could be included in the scheme in the future, but he did not think a mandatory target was the way forward. He said, “We've looked at how other countries have done it, and in the US, the UK and Canada, a voluntary target has proven to be effective.”
 
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