Compliance of the food industry with mandated salt target levels in South Africa: Towards development of a monitoring and surveillance framework

Publication Name

Journal of Food Composition and Analysis


This study evaluated the compliance of the food industry with mandated sodium target levels in South Africa for 13 categories of processed foods included in the sodium regulation R.214, and assessed whether there were differences between the sodium content provided on the product and the chemically analysed values. An in-store survey was done (February-June 2021) to collect sodium content data on the nutrition information panels of packaged foods (n = 1103). Commonly consumed brands for nine of the food categories, were physically sampled (n = 198) for sodium content analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Analysed sodium and food label values were compared with maximum permitted targets. According to food labels, 75% of food products had sodium levels at or below targeted limits. For the categories of bread, dry gravy powders and savoury sauce powders, and processed meat (uncured), > 30% of products had sodium levels above legislated targets. The least compliant food category was uncured processed meat which exceeded targets. Sodium levels declared on the packaging were similar to or higher than analytical sodium values, except for uncured processed meat (P < 0.05). According to food labelling and chemical analytical data, 70 – 75% of food products were compliant with the legislated sodium targets.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation



Link to publisher version (DOI)