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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Watchdog rejects salt complaint
Sid the Slug
Sid the Slug fronted the health campaign
The advertising watchdog has rejected industry complaints about a public health campaign warning of the dangers of salt.

The Food Standards Agency's Sid the Slug campaign last year warned too much salt was linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

The Salt Manufacturers' Association had said the poster which stated "too much salt is bad for you" was misleading.

It had argued the concept of "too much salt" was immeasurable.

We are obviously disappointed by the decision
Peter Sherratt, Salt Manufacturers' Association

The SMA branded the campaign "incorrect and potentially very damaging", and objected to the Sid the Slug character because it "is based on the fact that salt kills slugs and the assertion that it will kill also humans".

It had also complained about a commercial which formed part of the campaign, which included the lines "it ain't just bad for slugs" and shouting "too much salt can lead to a heart attack".

'Unlikely to mislead'

In a final decision about the complaints made by the industry, the ASA said neither the poster nor the commercial had breached its rules.

And it said the FSA's campaign had been based on advice from expert sources including the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Chief Medical Officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson.

In its judgement, the ASA said some experts did suggest the recommended average salt intake should be reduced, but there was a general agreement that regularly consuming high levels of salt posed a risk to heart health.

It concluded that "the advertisements were unlikely to mislead".

Peter Sherratt, general secretary of the SMA, said: "While we are obviously disappointed by the decision, we are delighted that its verdict points out that there is no consensus amongst experts worldwide on the suggested link between salt and high blood pressure.

"There is now growing recognition that persuading people to adopt a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is by far the best way of achieving population-wide reductions in blood pressure.

"Success in that direction would make salt reduction an insignificant issue."

Evidence

Neil Martinson, director of communications for the FSA, said: "We are pleased that the ASA has decided that our public health campaign to reduce salt consumption was unlikely to mislead the public.

"Sid the Slug was an amusing way to alert people to a very serious health message - eating too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

"That was supported by up-to-date, independent scientific evidence."

Last year, the ASA rejected complaints from the public suggesting the 'Sid the Slug' campaign was offensive and incorrect.




SEE ALSO:
Salt advert complaint rejected
12 Oct 04 |  Health
Britons told to cut salt intake
13 Sep 04 |  Health
Salt
08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes


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