Salty sandwiches should carry a warning...

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salt, Flavor, Hypertension

Food makers are criticised again for the high salt content in food
products as campaign group CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and
Health) publishes new survey saying sandwiches on sale at retail
outlets are so salty they should carry a health warning.

CASH​ looked at the salt content of 250 packaged sandwiches sold through 16 high street stores including Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer. They found that more than one in five sandwiches - 22 per cent - had over 3g salt and a massive 44 per cent over 2.5g salt. The maximum recommended daily amount of salt for an adult is 6g per day.

Two sandwiches sampled contain more than 6 grams, which is the level recommended for the entire daily intake of salt for an adult.

Breakfast-style sandwiches containing egg, bacon and sausages from several well known stores were particularly high in salt. A chicken Caesar sandwich had 5.9 grams of salt and a smoked salmon and crème fraiche one had 6.4 grams.

Excess salt in the diet is widely believed to contribute to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to strokes, heart attacks and heart failure- the world's number one killer.

Consumer groups have long hounded the food industry to cut the salt content in processed foods. In the UK the British Heart Foundation launched a 'pinch of salt' consumer awareness campaign in July last year to tackle salt consumption and 'hidden salt' in processed foods.

"Many processed foods, such as baked beans contain high levels of 'hidden' salt. In fact, up to 85 per cent of a person's dietary salt intake comes from processed foods,"​ said Belinda Linden, head of medical information at the British Heart Foundation.

More recently the Food Standards Agency in the UK unveiled a new salt model to investigate the effects of reducing salt content in different food groups on consumers.

The move was largely inspired by the results of an independent body - the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) - in the UK last year that found increasing evidence for the link between high levels of salt in the diet and high blood pressure. According to figures from the SACN report, the recommended daily adult salt intake should be 6 grams, but in fact the nation consumes about 9.5 grams a day.

Salt is used as a preservative in food, as well as to give flavour and texture. Most meat products contain salt, added both as a flavouring agent and to inhibit bacterial growth. Salt also plays a part in fat emulsification, diminishing the loss of fat and water during cooking in products such as sausages.

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