The publication provides information and practical tips for businesses on how to reduce salt in meat products, while considering factors such as food safety, labelling and additives.
The reduction of salt in some manufactured foods, such as bacon, ham and sausages, may reduce the current accepted safe storage time and increase the risk of the food supporting the growth of food poisoning and spoilage organisms, the BMPA noted.
"To take account of these issues, manufacturers may need to take appropriate action, such as reducing shelf life or implementing alternative preservative methods," the BMPA stated.
Such methods include the reduction in storage temperature throughout the supply chain, the use of preservative gases to improve storage or the use of alternative additives.
"It is also possible, however, that the improvement in manufacturing and distribution standards in modern food manufacturing may mean that safe storage time may not be significantly affected," the BMPA stated. "Each recipe change must therefore be thoroughly assessed in its own right before the product is made available to the consumer."
The guidance was written following a recommendation from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which examined the potential impact of salt reduction on food safety, the BMPA stated.
The guidance advises manufacturers about the type of foods that require reductions, and on the levels that are needed to help reduce consumers' intakes.
The guidance follows the FSA's identification last year of voluntary salt reduction targets for 85 categories of processed foods. The categories covered by the targets are wide-ranging and include dietary staples such as meat products, bread, breakfast cereals and cheese.
The FSA also targeted convenience foods such as ready meals, pizza and sandwiches, along with a wide range of snacks, including both savoury products, cakes and pastries.
The FSA set a maximum target levels for meat products per 100g. An average target has been set for bacon and ham products.
The targets also introduce an upper limit that all products within the category should achieve and gives a benchmark below which levels should be reduced.
In the majority of cases the targets have been set for products as sold.
High salt intake has been linked to a number of health problems, including increased blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase the risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke.
Those with high blood pressure are three times as likely to suffer from these diseases, and twice as likely to die from them, than someone with normal blood pressure, according to a 2003 study by the UK's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition
The study also concluded that a reduction in the average salt intake of the population would proportionally lower blood pressure levels and confer significant public health benefits by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Following publication of the SACN report, the government set a target to reduce the salt intakes of the UK population to an average of 6g per day by 2010.
Since the government adopted this target, the FSA has been working to get manufacturers to voluntary reduce salt levels in their products.
Data suggests that around one-third of adults in England suffer from high blood pressure, a large proportion of which is undiagnosed and therefore untreated, the BMPA noted.
The FSA targets for meat products can be found at:
The BMPA guidance can be downloaded at: www.bmpa.uk.com.