British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Health & Nutrition

Meat plays an important role in the diet of the nation, and the BMPA strongly supports advice to consumers on the benefits and need for a ‘balanced diet’, incorporating several food groups.

Consumer and media interest in health has steadily increased in recent years. In 2004, the UK Government, published a white paper, ‘Choosing health’ which the BMPA welcomed. This identified a range of areas for Government, the food industry and society in general, to focus upon. Of particular relevance to the meat sector are salt and saturated fat intake.

Salt Reduction
Over recent years, the UK Government, through the Food Standards Agency (FSA), has focused on the public health benefit of lower dietary sodium intake. This work has been developed through two strategies: on the ‘demand-side’, by increased consumer awareness and on the ‘supply side’, through partnership with industry. A major element of this partnership has been a focus on product reformulation.

Along with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the Meat section in the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the BMPA developed a two year salt reduction plan that matured in 2006. As a result the industry has already made progress in product reformulation and this momentum will be carried forward as businesses work towards the stretching, but achievable, target levels for 2010.

The FSA published targets in 2006 for salt reduction across a range of food categories, achievable by 2010. The BMPA welcomed the initiative and committed to achieving the target levels set for meat products. During 2008 the FSA undertook to review all categories for which targets had been set and as a result revised targets which were stricter for some categories were published in later that year. Revisions were made to the existing targets and new targets published for 2012. BMPA continue to support the original 2010 targets and encourage our members to make further reductions within the technological and food safety considerations of their products. Details of all FSA targets are below. The change of government in 2010 has resulted in the nutrition policy activities of the FSA being moved to the Department of Health (DH), BMPA will continue to work with officials in DH and provide assistance in understanding the technological difficulties associated with reformulation of meat products.

The BMPA believes that it is essential that Government continues with large scale and targeted (where identified as necessary) consumer awareness activity through in order to maximise the public health benefits possible in light of product reformulation.

Saturated Fat
Obesity has been described as a ticking time bomb and we applaud the Government efforts to address the issues around it. Key to the public health discussion is recognition of the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. The FSA begun work to reduce the energy sourced in the diet from saturated fat to 11.0% by 2010. This work will now be continued by the Department of Health.

The intrinsic nature of fat in meat and the functional properties in meat products magnify this challenge but as in the case of our response on salt reduction, the BMPA will approach the matter in a positive way and explore opportunities to address the issue to deliver a public health benefit. The starting point for this work is an assessment of the current saturated fat share of energy intake as we believe that reformulation work already undertaken will have taken us forward in the right direction. We are in discussion with Government on saturated fat and the subject will be of importance in the future.

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Guidance on Salt Reduction in Meat Products for Smaller Businesses
1 Dec 2010click to view/download this PDF file (380KB)Size: 380KB
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