Food Reformulation, Responsive Regulation, and 'Regulatory Scaffolding': Strengthening Performance of Salt Reduction Programs in Australia and the United Kingdom
Nutrients, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 5281-5308, 2015
29 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 2, 2015
Strategies to reduce excess salt consumption play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease, which is the largest contributor to global mortality from non-communicable diseases. In many countries, voluntary food reformulation programs seek to reduce salt levels across selected product categories, guided by aspirational targets to be achieved progressively over time. This paper evaluates the industry-led salt reduction programs that operate in the United Kingdom and Australia. Drawing on theoretical concepts from the field of regulatory studies, we propose a step-wise or “responsive” approach that introduces regulatory “scaffolds” to progressively increase levels of government oversight and control in response to industry inaction or under-performance. Our model makes full use of the food industry’s willingness to reduce salt levels in products to meet reformulation targets, but recognizes that governments remain accountable for addressing major diet-related health risks. Creative regulatory strategies can assist governments to fulfil their public health obligations, including in circumstances where there are political barriers to direct, statutory regulation of the food industry.
Keywords: salt reduction, legislation; regulation, United Kingdom, Australia, food policy, non-communicable disease
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation