The Department of Health has denied reports that it has dropped a salt reduction pledge from the Responsibility Deal, and said that half of all high street restaurants have committed to cutting salt in their products.

It had been reported that the pledge to set maximum salt levels for new products had been dropped amid concerns that it could take away from other efforts by food companies to reduce salt.

A Department of Health spokesperson told M&C Report: “We are currently reviewing targets that form part of the Responsibility Deal salt pledge to ensure that we continue to reduce salt intakes and prevent premature mortality from heart disease. This does not mean existing commitments have been dropped.

“As part of the current commitments, 70% of retailers and more than half the major high street restaurants have already committed to cutting salt in their products including basics like bread, meat products, cereals and sauces - work that the World Health Organisation has said is world leading.”