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Product developed by INEGI to reduce salt consumption will be used in school canteens

20 May 2021
The equipment created at INEGI to monitor and control the addition of salt in the preparation of meals is being tested in a real environment, and is being implemented in a pilot project in school canteens.

It is a kind of salt shaker, capable of dosing the amount of salt recommended by the World Health Organization, making meals healthier. The concept was born in 2018, from a collaboration between INEGI and the Faculty of Nutrition and Food of the University of Porto (FCNAUP), and is now closer to becoming a reality.

In a first phase, it was designed for individual use, and tested by 260 families in Portugal. This study revealed the positive impact of the use of the equipment, which translated into a significant improvement in the indicators associated with the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as arterial hypertension, the main focus of the project.

The prototype later evolved to support the preparation of meals in large quantities, targeting the catering sector.

INEGI was responsible for the product development, from supporting the creation of the concept to mechanical design and prototyping, which involved additive manufacturing technologies. The Institute's team of specialists has also developed a control and backoffice software, which makes it possible to automate the dispensing of salt according to the data entered, such as the quantity of doses to be seasoned.

Sílvia Esteves, responsible for the project at INEGI, explains that this work "started from the need identified by FCNAUP, since the excessive consumption of salt is a growing concern for public health".

"After the development and testing phase, we are already aiming at the industrialization and commercialization of the product”, adds the researcher.

Coordinated by FCNAUP, the project "IMC SALT - Development of innovative equipment to Monitor and Control the addition of SAL" is co-financed by FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, and by the European Union through COMPETE 2020 (Operational Program of the Competitiveness and Internationalization), within the scope of the Incentive System for Research and Technological Development.
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