Serbia Salt Action Summary

May 2015

WASH members L Pavlovic, M Popovic and colleagues surveyed the salt content of ready-to-eat foods dold in Novi Sad, Serbia. They found that the average salt content of breakfast cereals is 0.36g/100g and grilled meat is 2.32g/100g. Furthermore the vast majority of samples of sandwiches, pizza, salami, sausages, grilled meat and hard cheese tested had a high salt (>1.5g/100g) profile. To view the full study, please click here.

June 2010

WASH member Ljiljana Trajkovic-Pavlovic et al published the results of a survey of salt content of school meals served in boarding schools and student’s centres in Novi Sad. The investigations indicated that pupils were receiving salt in quantities that exceeded internationally established population goals. Adolescents and young adults were consuming an average of between 16-18g of salt per day.

Salt content in meals of boarding schools and students’ restaurants in Novi Sad
Ljiljana Trajkovic-Pavlovic, Budimka Novakovic, Natasa Dragnic, Ljilja Torovic 2010; 4(1): 45-51

www.healthmedjournal.com/files/vol04-no1.pdf

September 2008

Short report on investigation on salt content in meals in kindergartens, students’ restaurants and internal restaurants in enterprises and retail food in Novi Sad, Serbia

In the Republic of Serbia cardiovascular diseases are leading causes of deaths and disability and participate with 55.2% in total mortality. Ischemic heart diseases are responsible for 150 889 DALY. Cerebrovascular diseases are responsible for further 13 690 DALYs(1,2)

The latest national health survey indicated that a prevalence of hypertension among adults aged 18y and more was 46.5%(3). In the city of Novi Sad, a capital of the Province of Vojvodina, prevalence of hypertension within a population aged more than 45y was 69.8%(4).

Actual country legislation on food labeling does not require labeling of salt in retailed food (5).

Having in mind above mentioned data, we in the Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina, School of Medicine University of Novi Sad, wanted to check salt (sodium chloride) content in meals in kindergartens, students’ restaurants and internal restaurants of various enterprises and institutions in Novi Sad and retailed food of common use as well. Our investigation was supported by the Health Administration of the City of Novi Sad.

During 2005, 2006 and 2007 a content of sodium chloride was examined in 150 samples of daily meals ( breakfast, lunch and snack) in kindergartens, 90 daily meals (breakfast, dinner and supper) in student’ restaurants and 450 samples of meals in internal restaurants of various enterprises and institutions in Novi Sad. Within the same period salt content in near 750 samples of retailed ready- to- eat food of common use was examined.

Obtained results indicated that average salt content in daily meals in kindergartens, and students’ restaurants increased from 1.8g (2005) to 5.02g (2007) and 8.1(2005) to 13.1 (2007) respectively. Salt content in lunch-meals of employees also increased from 3.8g (2005) to 5.1g (2007).

Salt content in 100g of the tested ready-to-eat retailed food in Novi Sad was: 1.4-2.2g in bread; 1.6-4.01g in bakeries; 1.4-4.15g in sausages and hams; 1.4-3.8g in cheese; 1.1-2.6g in fast food; 0.53-1,99g in caned vegetable, 16.3-20.21g in sups and 1.37-4.46g in salty snacks (chips, salted peanuts etc).

The results of the laboratory analysis of each sample, with a medical doctor opinion, are regularly sent to the kindergartens, Students’ center and to enterprise/institution. Annual reports for the Health Administration of the City of Novi Sad were also prepared. The reports were considered by the local health authorities and kindergartens administration. We had very positive reactions. They made negotiations with certain food suppliers in order to reduce salt content in some food items. We hope they will succeed. Some media showed interest for the problem and made short reports on it. Last year Ministry of health was informed about the WHO/ EURO initiative on salt reduction and our modest activities in this field.

What are the further steps? In the forthcoming period we will prepare a report for the Ministry of Agriculture of Serbia who is in charge for food labeling legislation in order to make amendment on food labeling provisions. We are also in a process of preparing a paper with the results of our investigations and we intend to publish it in a public health journal.

References

  1. Republic of Serbia, Republic Administration of Statistics, Report number 260, year LIV, 2004.
  2. Ministry of Health of Republic Serbia; Burden of diseases and injuries in Serbia, Belgrade, 2003.
  3. Ministry of health of the Republic of Serbia: National Health Survey Serbia 2006. Key findings. Belgrade, 2007.
  4. Novaković B, Božović D: Diabetes, Obesity and Hypertension in Vojvodina, Monograph No 62, School of Medicine University of Novi Sad, 2004.
  5. Provisions on food declaring and labeling, Official journal of Serbia and Montenegro No 4/2004, 12/200 and 48/20 (Pravilnik o deklarisanju i označavanju upakovanih namirnica, Sl.list SCG broj4/2004, 12/2004 i 48/2004)