Not to make you panic, but if you’re concerned about the amount of salt you’re consuming, you might want to change your dinner plans for bangers and mash tonight…
Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has warned that sausages are much too high in salt and saturated fat, noting that the overall level of salt in sausages has remained unchanged for six years – despite a voluntary target to reduce them.
There are just three weeks to go for sausage makers to drop down to the voluntary salt targets set by Public Health England. But CASH warns that many sausage makers are cutting it pretty close to the deadline, as their products still contain too much salt. Oh, and that includes vegetarian sausages, so don’t feel too smug if you’re meat-free. CASH found the average salt content of two sausages to be 1.16g. That’s a bit of a concern, as a child aged four to six is only recommended 3g of salt per day, while adults should consume no more than 6g of salt. CASH also found that 85% of the sausages they tested were high in saturated fats, containing over 5g saturated fats per 100g. After surveying 212 chilled and frozen sausages, the body named and shamed the worst offenders, pointing out that Richmond’s full range of sausages beats all other sausage makers for salt levels.
Asda has some of the saltiest sausages at 2.1g of salt per 100g, while just one 80g sausage from Iceland’s frozen eight jumbo pork sausages packet contains 1.28g of salt (1.6g per 100g).
Adding two sausages to a sarnie with white bread, a dollop of ketchup and a smear of butter would mean you’d be taking in 3.78g of salt.
One 56g Quarn Best of British sausage contains 1.1g of salt (1.9g per 100g), while one 46g Linda McCartney’s vegetarian sausage contains 0.74g of salt (1.6g per 100g). Research suggests that the average Brit eats 2.68kg of sausages a year. If we all ate the saltiest sausage – that’s Richmond’s skinless pork sausage, FYI, with 2.3g of salt per 100g – we’d be consuming 61.64g of salt a year from sausages alone. That’s equivalent to 134 packs of Walkers ready salted crisps. This doesn’t mean you need to throw out all your dreams of having sausages for dinner. Just be more aware of the salt content of the meat you’re putting into your body, and consider swapping to one of the lower salt brands.
Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Graham MacGregor at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of CASH added: ‘The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy. ‘Public Health England, who is now responsible, must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020 without further delay. ‘Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year. ‘Salt reduction is the most cost-effective and most successful public health preventive measure made to date, and it is a national tragedy that it is being allowed to fail.” CASH’s nutritionist and campaign manager Sonia Pombo added: ‘So far we have seen very little evidence that the latest set of voluntary salt targets have been achieved, despite the impending deadline this month. ‘Therefore strict monitoring and tougher regulation from the government must be implemented.’