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FEB: France reaches agreement on salt reduction

Professionals in the bread sector signed the first collective agreement alongside the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, on reducing the salt content of bread. The agreement was finalized in a meeting at the International Agricultural Show on March 3. This voluntary commitment is the result of two years of collective work, according to a joint statement. It is part of a global approach to perfect the nutritional profile of bread, as a source of fiber that contributes to a healthy and balanced diet.

The agreement covers three categories of bread products:

  1. Bread for everyday consumption and traditional French bread made from wheat flour
  2. Bread made from more or less complete wheat flour, flour from various cereals, with or without the addition of cereal-type ingredients (seeds, bran, oatmeal, etc.), called ‘wholemeal bread or cereals’
  3. Plain, wholemeal, cereal and seed and gluten-free sandwich breads

From July 2022, common breads will respect a threshold of less than 1.5 g of salt/100g. Then, from October 2023, all the signing parties will ensure compliance with a maximum salt threshold for each of these categories:

  • 4 g of salt/100g for common breads
  • 3 g of salt/100g for wholemeal breads or cereals
  • 2 g of salt/100g for sandwich breads (with and without gluten)

The threshold will be raised to 1.1 g of salt/100 g for sandwich breads in October 2025.

France committed to the World Health Organization to reduce salt consumption by 30% by 2025. However, bread – essential food for 89% of French people – makes up for approximately 20% of their daily salt intake, the statement pointed out. This is why the bakery industry was asked to reach a common commitment. The new agreement reflects the goal for healthy and sustainable food, a concerted approach bringing together:

  • The National Association of French Milling
  • The dietetic sector of the French Union of Specialized Nutrition
  • The Federation of Trade and Distribution
  • Federation of Bakery Companies
  • Biscuits, Cakes and Baked goods from France
  • Leclerc
  • Intermarché
  • The National Confederation of French Bakery and Bakery-Patisserie
  • Syfab – the National Union of Manufacturers of Intermediate Products for Bakery, pâtisserie et viennoiserie