§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the measures he has taken to reduce the sodium chloride consumption in the United Kingdom diet; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gummer
Although certain people require low sodium diets for medical reasons, I am not aware of any firm evidence of the need to reduce sodium chloride consumption in the United Kingdom diet. In 1987 my Department introduced guidelines on nutrition labelling. These have encouraged manufacturers to give nutrition information on food labels, including sodium declarations, thus enabling consumers to compare products more easily and to help those who wish to reduce their sodium intake to do so.
I am currently pressing for a satisfactory Community-wide system for consumers in negotiations on proposed 459W Community directives on nutrition labelling. As announced in July we shall be introducing regulations to control nutrition claims such as "low salt", "low sodium", to ensure that consumers are not misled.
Commission proposals relating specifically to sodium have not yet been issued, but I am seeking to ensure effective Communitywide regulation on all these matters, although a number of countries have been strongly opposed to those proposals issued so far.