Denmark

Salt Action Summary

January 2009

In Denmark the Health authorities have recommended a reduction in dietary salt intake since the beginning of the 1990s. The current recommendation is given by the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2004: "A gradually reduction in intake of salt is recommended. The recommendations are 6 g per day for women and 7 g per day for men. A further reduction to 5-6 g. per day is recommended ”.

The mean intake of salt today is 9-11 g per day for men and 7-8 g per day for women.

The main source of salt is industrial processed food, about 70 percent of the daily intake. Food served at work-canteens is also a know factor, whereas household added salt only accounts for 11-12 percent of the daily intake.

Actions:

There are no regulations on industrial added salt. A reduction of industrial added salt, is therefore only on a voluntary basis.

  • Sweden, Denmark and Norway have agreed on a Nordic food labelling system for healthy food, known as the "keyhole mark". The aim with the "keyhole" system is to help consumers choose healthy food options. This labelling system includes criteria for salt.
  • Denmark is a part of EU follow up initiative "The high level group". Based on the results of two salt expert meetings and the discussion on "The high level group" in 2008 the EU Framework for National Salt Initiative was developed describing a common vision for a general European approach towards salt reduction. A benchmark for overall salt reduction of a minimum of 16 % in 4 years against the individual baseline levels in 2008 has been established. The initiative is entirely voluntary.
  • All state workplaces are by law required to formulate a food policy by the end of 2008. It is the hope that private sector and local workplaces will do the same. The Danish Veterinary and Food administration have published a pamphlet “healthy food at workplaces”, this pamphlet includes an aim to reduce salt in canteen meals.
  • Denmark has regulations for nutrition claims (common regulation with EU). The regulation contains general principles and specific conditions for when a product through claims can be used for commercial reasons, for their special nutrition or health benefits. For example to promote a products as low in salt, it will have to contain at least 25 % less salt than compared products and to use salt as a nutrition claim, the salt content per 100 grams can be a maximum of 0.3 grams.