Campaign launched to have hidden salt removed from foods

AUSTRALIANS are unwittingly eating three times the amount of salt they need because it is hidden in a large number of the everyday foods they consume.

The Heart Foundation, which is calling on the Federal Government to implement a four-point national action plan on salt, has launched a campaign to have hidden salt removed from foods before they hit the supermarket shelves.

Heart Foundation spokeswoman Kellie-Ann Jolly said 75% of the salt people consumed was hidden in processed foods, including bread, breakfast cereals, processed meats, cheese, sauces and spreads.

"Australian adults are each eating 3.2kg of salt every year, which is three times more than we need. Children also eat more than three times what they need - an alarming 2.2kg each year," Ms Jolly said.

"These days, most of the salt we consume is not added at the table, but hidden in the food we eat every day."

Ms Jolly said reducing salt intake from processed foods by just 15% over 10 years would avert 5800 heart attacks and 4900 strokes a year.

The national plan calls on government to increase funding for industry programs to make our food healthier, making salt targets mandatory for all processed and takeaway foods, implementing the new star rating food labelling system and educating the community so we can all make healthier choices.