THOUSANDS are dying of heart attacks, strokes and stomach cancer after a campaign to reduce salt in supermarket food stalled, researchers have said.
A relaxation in regulation since 2011 is said to be responsible for nearly 10,000 extra heart disease and stroke cases over six years.
And experts say that figure will reach 26,000 by 2025, along with 3,800 additional deaths from stomach cancer.
Adults are advised to eat no more than 6g of salt a day — but most consume 8g on average.
The Food Standards Agency requested all food manufacturers reduce salt content by up to 20 per cent and monitored them between 2003 and 2010.
It led to a salt intake fall of 0.2g per day in men and 0.12g in women.
But the Public Health Responsibility Deal let the industry set targets as part of voluntary pledges.
Afterwards, the decline in salt intake slowed to 0.11g a day in men and 0.07g a day in women.
The researchers said the new system lacked “robust and independent target setting, monitoring, and enforcement”.
Study lead Dr Anthony Laverty, of Imperial College London, added: “Evidence from around the world is now showing mandatory approaches are much more effective than self-regulation in reducing the amount of salt and sugar in our diet.”
Prostitute who earns £2,000 a week reveals the average penis size … and how much she enjoys work
Mum stuns doctors after giving birth to baby with head and arms of his parasitic TWIN attached to his chest
PUT THAT YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT
Smoking pure cannabis is better for you than mixing it with tobacco, study finds
His team used data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and national salt surveys from 2000 to 2013.
Co-author Prof Martin O’Flaherty, of the University of Liverpool, added: “The FSA approach was one of the most robust strategies internationally.
“Softer, voluntary measures could generate additional heart attacks, strokes and cancer cases.”