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  1. ITV Report

Salt levels in food so high some products 'saltier than seawater'

Survey showed only one out of 28 food categories are on track to meet the salt reduction targets suggested for 2017 Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Salt levels in supermarket products are continuing to fall short of the salt reduction targets for the year as it looks increasingly likely the food industry will miss almost every target set to lower the amount of the “hidden killer” in our food.

According to a survey by health campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) only one out of 28 food categories - bread rolls - are on track to meet the salt reduction targets suggested for 2017.

6g
the daily maximum amount of salt adults should consume
8g
the daily amount of salt adults in the UK are consuming

Research also showed salt levels are so high in some products that certain foods are saltier than seawater - including Galaxy Ultimate Marshmallow Hot Chocolate which has 16 times more salt (per 100g) than the maximum target.

Worst offenders on the list (based on grams of salt per 100g)

  • Aldi 'Fishmonger' Smoked Mackerel Fillets with Piri Piri - 3.8g
  • M&S Salt & Vinegar Chiplets - 2.8g
  • Galaxy Ultimate Marshmallow Hot Chocolate - 2.5g
  • Sainsbury's Taste the Difference West Country Farmhouse Butter with Cornish Sea Salt - 2.1g
  • Quorn Southern Fried Chicken Burgers (4 pack) - 2g
Research showed salt levels are so high in some products that certain foods are saltier than seawater. Credit: .

Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash, said the results were a "national scandal".

He said: "The UK was leading the world in salt reduction, but PHE are doing nothing to ensure that the 2017 salt targets are met."

Katharine Jenner, registered nutritionist and campaign director for Cash, branded salt as "the forgotten killer" after looking at the results of the FoodSwitch shopping basket survey.

He said: "The findings from our FoodSwitch shopping basket survey are alarming and we are shocked to see that many food manufacturers and retailers are still failing to meet the salt reduction targets, despite having had years to work towards them."

How can you reduce your salt intake?

Cash recommend these tips for helping to cut you salt intake.

  • Always check the food labels on products for salt content
  • Watch out for ingredients in dishes that are already very salty and try to avoid eating too much of them - ie. cheese, olives, capers and cured meats
  • Beware of sauce, like ketchup and salad cream, which can contain high levels of added salt and ask for other sauces to be served on the side
  • Try avoiding adding salt to your dishes and give it a squeeze of lemon and some black pepper for flavour instead