Healthy living

Bacon and bread worse for salt

Bacon and bread worse for salt Two rashers a day can contain more than half a day's salt, warns campaign group

Bacon has become the second biggest source of salt in the UK diet after bread, new research reveals.

Just two rashers of bacon can contain more than half the maximum daily recommended amount of salt (6g), according to a survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).

The campaign group looked at the salt content of 130 products including streaky, middle and back bacon on the shelves of ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and The Co-operative supermarkets.

It found "huge and unnecessarily high amounts of salt in bacon" at a time when consumers are more likely to turn to cheaper foods such as bacon to feed their families.

Brands highest in salt content included Tesco's thick cut smoked back rashers, with two grilled rashers containing 3.8g of salt.

Meanwhile two grilled rashers of Morrisons Saver streaky bacon contained 3g of salt, while two grilled rashers of Tesco's Everyday Value un-smoked rind-on middle bacon contained 5.3g.

Large variations in the salt content of bacon, were found, even in the same supermarket, the survey found.

Morrison’s Savers smoked rindless back bacon contained three times more salt (6.8g/100g) than its The Best Applewood smoked dry cured back bacon (2g/100g).

Sainsbury’s reduced salt Danish smoked back bacon contained almost half the amount of salt (2.95g/100g) than their Taste The Difference unsmoked Wiltshire cured outdoor bred bacon (5.58g/100g). But even the lower salt version is still saltier than the sea, CASH said.

Self reported updates from the industry indicate that just two of the seven major supermarkets - Tesco and Marks & Spencer - are on track to meet the 2012 bacon target by the end of the year of 2.88g salt per 100g, said CASH.

"Massive inconsistencies" in pack labelling were also found by the campaign group, as some companies had opted for traffic light labelling, others for Guideline Daily Amounts and some for nothing at all. Both Marks & Spencer and ASDA failed to provide any portion information.

Graham MacGregor, CASH Chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute said: "For every one gram reduction in salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal.

"As bacon is now such a big contributor of salt to our diet it is vital that the Department of Health ensures that manufacturers reduce the salt in these incredibly salty bacon products immediately."

Hannah Brinsden, CASH Nutritionist said: "In times of austerity we have a lot on our minds already, without the extra worry that our budget meal choices contain too much salt.

"It is down to manufacturers to ensure that the salt in bacon is reduced and to provide us with a consistent labelling system so we are able to us to choose lower salt products and protect our health."

This article was published on Thu 13 September 2012

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