safefood 'six weeks to change your taste buds' challenge carried from workplace to home- NI Release

23 October, 2006. Earlier today, safefood issued the findings of a major at-work salt reduction programme, Six Weeks to Change Your Taste Buds. issued the findings of a major at-work salt reduction programme, Six Weeks to Change Your Taste Buds. The initiative was designed to increase awareness of the health risks posed by a diet too high in salt and ultimately lead to a lowering of salt in the diet. 55% of employees who participated in the programme said that they had reduced, or planned to reduce the level of salt in their diet, as a direct result of the campaign.

The programme, which involved over 4,500 employees from different sectors of business across Northern Ireland, also had an impact on behaviours at home. Of those who reduced their salt intake at work, 66% claimed to have done so at home too. Almost 9 in 10 employees said they would like to see further campaigns in relation to their diet.

Speaking about the campaign Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, safefood said, “Salt levels in processed foods provide the biggest challenge for us as consumers, as often we are not aware of, nor do we tend to read, the level of salt on the label. Simple steps to help reduce salt intake include flavouring food with pepper, choosing fresh meat, fish and vegetables over processed foods where possible, and cutting back on salty meats such as bacon, gammon and ham. It is encouraging to see that when people are provided with the right information they take it on board.”

The safefood ‘Six weeks to change your taste buds’ challenge offered practical advice to help patrons of workplace restaurants to gradually reduce their salt intake down to a healthy limit over the six week period. The campaign was launched with the support of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke Association.

As well as the ‘Six weeks to change your taste buds’ challenge, safefood has produced a leaflet, How much salt is good for you, which provides a clear outline on how to manage salt intake. The leaflet is available from the safefood helpline 0800 085 1683 or at


For further information please contact


Leanne McCarroll/Kathy Doyle 

Tel: 028 9039 5500

Fiona Gilligan


Tel: 03531 4480600

Editors Notes

The six key messages introduced each week during the campaign were

  1. Try using freshly ground black pepper for flavour instead of adding salt 
  2. Choose fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables over processed foods whenever possible
  3. Choose foods which have been flavoured with herbs and spices. They add lots of flavour to food so you shouldn’t need to add any salt
  4. Cut down on the amount of salty meats you choose such as bacon, gammon and ham
  5. Food often contains more than enough salt so always taste it first before you add anymore
  6. Ask for sauces and which often contain lots of salt to be served on the side. Then you can control how much salt you use
  • The Recommended Daily Allowance of salt for adults is 4g per day. Food intake surveys have shown that the average intake for adults is 10g.
  • 6g is the amount recommended by the FSAI as an achievable target for the adult Irish population, in a recent report ‘Salt and Health: Review of the Scientific Evidence and Recommendations for Public Policy in Ireland’.
  • Younger children are particularly at risk from excessive salt levels in their diet and should eat less than adults. Salt should not be added to toddlers’ food.
  • Reading food labels can inform the consumer about the level of salt in a product and allow them to compare products to make the lower salt choice.
  • By multiplying the sodium content on the food label by 2.5, the consumer can calculate the amount of salt in the food.
  • Foods classified as high in salt contain more than 0.5g of sodium or 1.3g of salt. These include cured and processed meat products, soups and sauces and savoury snacks.
  • A salt calculator can be found on which helps consumers work out how much salt is in specified amounts of food.