Regulate or Motivate? A Salt Reduction Strategy for Processed Food in South Africa

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CASE STUDY. Six months had passed since the South African government had gazetted draft regulations on salt content in food.

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Regulate or Motivate? A Salt Reduction Strategy for Processed Food in South Africa: Abstract

Regulate or Motivate? A Salt Reduction Strategy for Processed Food in South Africa is a case study by Karen Hofman, Jennifer Lindsey-Renton and Courtenay Sprague.

Six months had passed since the South African government had gazetted draft regulations on salt content in food. Now, in December 2012, the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, was reviewing the submissions received on the proposed laws. As the comments had come in from individuals, corporates, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, the public health sector and civil society, Motsoaledi had realised that he would be facing some resistance to his department’s proposals. Yet, he had long felt that the health and broader socio-economic impacts of excessive salt consumption in South Africa were too high, and that salt intake should therefore be brought in line with international best practice. The question was whether it was better to regulate or motivate?

Teaching objectives

This case aims to encourage students to:

  • Analyse the benefits and drawbacks for corporates and government when it comes to adjusting salt levels in food.
  • Recognise and evaluate the ethical dimensions facing corporates on this issue.

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