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Southport Reporter

Edition No. 84

Date:- 24 January 2003

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Salty foods threaten child health. 

DESPITE food industry claims that they have been working for years to reduce the salt in processed food, a survey by the Food Commission (published today in the Food Magazine) shows that little has changed in 25 years, and many products "especially those aimed at children" are saltier than ever.

The survey compared 1978 salt levels1 of four categories of processed foods with the salt level found in equivalent products available in January 2003. The categories were: white bread, crisps, baked beans and canned tomato soup.

Examination of crisps purchased in 2003 showed that the salt content had almost doubled since 1978, from an average of 540mg per 100g to 1050mg per 100g. Average salt levels had also risen in canned baked beans, from 480mg per 100g to 490mg per 100g. Meanwhile, average salt levels for canned tomato soup and white bread showed very little improvement, despite industry and government claims that salt has been reduced in these processed foods.

In a second phase of the survey, the Food Commission compared salt levels in popular children’s foods with new recommendations for maximum salt intake for 1 to 6-year-old children. The survey showed that many foods aimed at children, including Burger King children’s meals, Dairylea Lunchables and Teletubbies canned pasta, would take a 6-year-old child over the recommended daily maximum intake with just one serving.

"The government has acknowledged that processed foods are the main source of salt in most people’s diets," explained Kath Dalmeny, Research Officer for the Food Commission. "Most people, including children, eat about twice as much salt as the recommended maximum level. However, it is very hard for people to cut back on salt because it is hidden in everyday products such as bead, canned soup and baked beans. The food industry must take greater responsibility for public health and reduce salt in processed food."

Eating high levels of salt is linked to high blood pressure, which is the main cause of strokes and a major factor in heart attacks, two of the most common causes of death and illness in the UK.

Report with thanks to the Food Commission.

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Question current council tax levels.

MARK Bigley, Parliamentary Spokesman for Southport Conservative Association said, "It is long overdue, but not unexpected, that the other political parties seem to be coming to their senses and recognising that Council Tax in Sefton is far too high. This is what the Conservative Party has been saying for years.

Last year the Conservative Group put forward proposals that would have resulted in lower Council Tax for thousands of Southport residents and enhanced services that people care about. However, the Liberal Democrats joined with Labour to vote through a disgraceful 9% increase.

The Conservative Party believes that Council Tax in Sefton should be far less than its current levels and that this can be achieved by reducing the over administration that plagues the Council. We have identified what services people in Southport want to see from their Local Authority and this is always reflected in our budget proposals. The question has to be asked, would the Liberal Democrats support a Conservative budget? It's about time the Lib Dems recognised the needs and concerns of Southport residents when they develop their proposals."

Southport Should Shine in the Media.

FOR nearly two years Southport's sunshine records have not been appearing in the National Press. This is an important form of publicity for the resort's Tourism industry. Whilst every other major tourism town gets a mention, Southport's sunshine fails to get a show.

Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman Mark Bigley said, "We are losing an opportunity here to publicise the town's excellent sun-shine record. I have spoken to Councillor David Pearson, the Conservative Member for Dukes Ward who agrees with me. A solution has to be found quickly."

"The weather recording is carried out by Sefton Council and its equipment is located at Greenbank High School. Apparently this equipment is broken and I am told that replacements are being obtained, but I feel that two years is rather excessive in obtaining some replacement broken equipment. Has the order for the replacement goods been lost somewhere in the over administration and bureaucracy of Sefton Council? This has gone on for far too long. I have written to the Council asking them to hurry up and rectify this issues on what is an opportunity going to waste."

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.