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Low-salt drive starts

September 14, 2017

The Department of Health has launched the Salt Reduction Scheme for School Lunches for the 2017-18 school year.


Thirteen food suppliers will provide reduced-salt lunches to 440 primary schools.


They will offer 280 lunch options with an average sodium reduction of 9%.


Recipes will be submitted to the department for sodium level checks.


Assistant Director of Health (Health Promotion) Dr Anne Fung said excessive intake of sodium can cause hypertension, a major cause of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.


"The rate of referral of primary and secondary students with suspected hypertension for further management increased from 0.4% in 2011-12 to 0.8% in 2015-16.


"Such statistics show it is important to support our children to develop healthy eating habits to prevent the development of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension."


She said she hopes the scheme will gradually lower the sodium level of school lunches by up to 10% each year, with a 10-year target of the average sodium level in primary school lunchboxes being less than 500mg.


Dr Fung called on parents to help with the Government's nutritional drive by reducing sodium in food made at home.


She added the department and the Centre for Food Safety will launch the Nutrient Testing of School Lunches in Primary Schools in Hong Kong scheme next year and collect random lunch samples from all local primary schools to examine their levels of energy, sodium and other nutrients.


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