Healthy living

Sausages contain more salt than a packet of crisps

sausages Laden with salt

Most sausages contain more salt than a packet of crisps, research has found.

Health campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) looked at the salt content of fresh and frozen meat, chipolata and vegetarian sausages. Many of the British bangers were found to contain "shockingly high" levels of salt.

Only seven out of 246 of the meat sausages tested contained less salt than a packet of crisps.

Adults are supposed to eat no more than 6g of salt a day, but the average consumption in the UK is around 8.6g, and more for men.

Starting the day with just two sausages at breakfast, someone could easily consume half the recommended daily maximum of salt.

Richmond sausages were amongst the worst offenders, with three types having more than 2.2g of salt per 100g.

Sainsbury's Butchers Choice Large Pork Sausages were almost as bad with 2.12g of salt per 100g, followed by Iceland's Thick Pork Sausages with 2.0g of salt per 100g.

Even some of the most expensive brands tested contained high amounts of salt. Musk's Newmarket sausages contained 2.5g of salt per 100g, which works out at around 1.6g per sausage.

For those on a budget, there was no notable difference in the salt content of economy versus standard or premium supermarket ranges, CASH found.

Healthier options included Tesco's Finest and The Co-operative Truly Irresistible British Pork & Sweet Chilli Sausages, which had 1.0g of salt per 100g.

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal were also singled out for praise as their own brands already met the government's 2012 targets.

The Jamie Oliver Beautiful Coarse-textured Italian Style Sausages came in at 1.1g of salt per 100g, and the Heston from Waitrose Boerewors Sausages had 1.00g per 100g.

Professor Graham MacGregor of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and Chairman of CASH said: “That there is so much salt still in our sausages is a scandal.

“Salt puts up our blood pressure, leading to strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney disease, we should all be eating less than 6g of salt a day.

"The UK is leading the world in salt reduction, but whilst there are food manufacturers filling our favourite foods such as sausages with salt, our health is at risk.”

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This survey shows just how much salt could be in our favourite sausages and yet that important information is often hidden in confusing and unhelpful food labels.

"So whether it’s salty sausages, sugary sweets or fatty fast food, we need clear and consistent front-of-pack food labelling so we can all make informed choices to help keep our hearts healthy.”

This article was published on Fri 17 June 2011

Image © creative studio -

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