Resource Centre Compliance with Regulations

2019 marks three years since the law outlining maximum amounts of salt allowed in specific food categories (Regulations relating to the Reduction of Sodium in Certain Foodstuffs and Related Foodstuffs R214) was introduced. A new study investigated whether sodium in food products in South Africa were actually been reformulated to comply with regulations in practice. The title of the study by Peters et al (2017) is “The Sodium Content of Processed Foods in South Africa during the Introduction of Mandatory Sodium Limits”. It was published in the Nutrients journal in 2017.

What did the study investigate?

The study used in-store surveys and information crowdsourced through the HealthyFood Switch mobile app to evaluate the nutritional composition of packaged food in the period between notification and early implementation of salt reduction regulations in 2016. More than 10 000 food products were included in the analyses.

What were the findings?

The study found that almost seven in ten targeted foods had a sodium level that were at or below the permitted maximum sodium levels as mandated in the legislation as the regulations came into force. Many more foods were already close to the sodium limit.

Lessons from the study

This study illustrates that reformulation of packaged products was being implemented as the regulations were being introduced in 2016 although more work still needed to be done in specific categories. The second phase of regulations is approaching in 2019. To find out more about the study and to earn CPD points, visit (

The study itself is here.