Ris­ing salt lev­els in ready-made sal­ads put cus­tomers health ‘in jeop­ardy’

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JANE BRADLEY Con­sumer af­fairs correspondent jane.bradley@scots­man.com

The amount of salt in ready to eat sal­ads is in­creas­ing and could be dam­ag­ing con­sumers’s health, a study has re­vealed.

Cam­paign group Ac­tion on Salt found that the salt con­tent of sal­ads bought from restau­rants, cof­fee shops and fast food out­lets has in­creased by 13 per cent since they were last sur­veyed in 2014.

The probe found that Pizza Ex­press Grand Chicken Cae­sar Salad with Dough Sticks con­tains 5.3g salt per serv­ing – more than their Clas­sic Margherita Pizza and only 0.7g un­der an adult’s en­tire daily rec­om­mended salt in­take.

More than a third of the 213 restau­rants, sand­wich and cof­fee shop chains and fast food sal­ads sur­veyed con­tained 2g of salt or more per salad.

Sarah Alder­ton of Ac­tion on Salt said: “Sal­ads are typ­i­cally con­sid­ered to be a healthy op­tion, but restau­rants and re­tail­ers are con­tin­u­ing to add un­nec­es­sar­ily high amounts of salt and sat­u­rated fat to their sal­ads and putting the health of their cus­tomers in jeop­ardy.”

The study said that although nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion was avail­able at the ma­jor­ity of the restau­rant and fast food chains in­cluded in the sur­vey – either on pack, on the shelf la­bel or at the counter on re­quest – only cafe brand Costa pro­vided full colour-coded nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion.

With­out this in­for­ma­tion read­ily avail­able at their dis­posal, con­sumers strug­gle to know which op­tions con­tain the least amount of salt, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to make an in­formed de­ci­sion.

Ms Alder­ton added: “We want the food in­dus­try to be trans­par­ent by dis­play­ing clear, colour-coded nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion on front of pack or at the point of sale, to help con­sumers make a more in­formed de­ci­sion wher­ever they choose to eat.”

Gra­ham Macgre­gor, pro­fes­sor of car­dio­vas­cu­lar medicine at Queen Mary Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don and chair­man of Ac­tion on Salt, said: “It’s shock­ing to see that cer­tain restau­rants and su­per mar­kets have failed to take re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­duce salt – es­pe­cially af­ter our 2014 sur­vey ex­posed their dan­ger­ously salty sal­ads.”

Ac­tion on Salt also sur­veyed all ready-to-eat sal­ads from re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing pasta, rice, cous­cous, noo­dle and sal­ads made from other grains from the deli and ‘food to go’ sec­tions.

Over the last four years, the av­er­age salt con­tent of re­tail sal­ads has re­mained rel­a­tively un­changed.

Pizza Ex­press de­clined to com­ment.

0 Cam­paign group Ac­tion on Salt found that the salt con­tent of sal­ads bought from restau­rants, cof­fee shops and fast food out­lets has in­creased by 13% since 2014

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