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Consensus Action on Salt and Health

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BBQ survey

Summer Barbecues: The hidden danger

July 2003

Today, a survey released by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health)* shows how the majority of commercial barbecue foods contain large amounts of hidden salt. Many contain approximately the same concentration of sodium as in Atlantic seawater (1g sodium per 100g, which is 2.5g of salt per 100g), eg. Chinese style spareribs-90% equivalent to seawater, hot and spicy chicken thighs-88% equivalent to seawater.

Typical barbecue products were surveyed in London from three supermarkets own label products.** These included meats, bread rolls, sauces, dips and crisps. Several products contained more salt in one portion than the recommended daily intake (6g a day- one teaspoonful). A meal consisting of one spicy chicken thigh, one burger with cheese and bun, one sausage, ketchup, houmous dip and crisps would contain over 10g of salt, about twice the recommended daily intake in one meal. Two meals like this in a day will total over 20g salt. Products from other supermarkets may contain similar amounts of salt but were not surveyed.

In his Annual Report (2002) The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said "I would particularly urge the food industry and the Food Standards Agency to drive down the salt content of food – a potentially life saving measure."***

The greater the salt intake, the greater the risk of developing high blood pressure, the commonest cause of strokes, heart failure and heart attacks in the United Kingdom. These very high amounts of salt will increase thirst and thereby a greater consumption of mineral waters, soft drinks and beer. The high salt content causes retention of fluid in the body, with a gain in weight of 1 to 2 kilos.

Encourage your audience to prepare homemade barbecue sauces and marinades. Fresh herbs and spices taste far better and contain far less salt, as fresh meat itself contains very little salt. See the notes for recipes suggestions. ****

We call upon all of the supermarkets and the food manufacturers to urgently reduce the salt concentration of these products. There is no reason why these products should contain so much salt and they could easily be reduced to much more acceptable levels with considerable improvement in taste.

**The worst offenders

Product and (estimated portion size) Sodium per 100g Wt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

% Recommended Maximum Intake/day
Sainsburys 2 Quarter Pounder Beef Burgers with Cheese and Buns 0.7g 225g 3.75g 70% 62.5%
Marks and Spencers Hot and Spicy Chicken Thighs 0.88g 150g 3.3g 88% 55%
Marks and Spencers 2 Racks of Pork Ribs and BBQ Marinade 0.87g 140g 3g 87% 50%
Sainsburys Barbeque Chicken Combo Drumsticks (1) Onion rings (2) Potato wedges (2) Dips Total   0.3g 0.7g 0.5g 0.17g 1.67g   120g 40g 40g 70g     0.9g 0.7g 0.5g 0.3g 2.4g   30% 70% 50% 17%       40%
Somerfield Chinese Style spare Ribs 0.9g 100g 2.25g 90% 37%

 

Supermarket: Somerfield

Product and (estimated portion size) Sodium per 100g Wt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

Chinese Style Spare Ribs 0.9g 100g 2.25g 90%
Chinese Chicken Drumsticks 0.5g 90g 1.13g 50%
4 Beef Burgers 0.6g 113.5g 1.7g 60%
8 Pork Sausages 0.9g 56.75g 1.27g 90%
8 Beef and Pork Sausages 0.9g 56.75g 1.27g 90%
6 White Burger Baps 0.5g   0.75g 50%
Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp) 1.1g 15g 0.41g 110%
Houmous (1 Tbsp) 0.6g 25g 0.38g 60%
Salsa dip (1 Tbsp) 0.3g 25g 0.2g 30%
"So Good" Hand Cooked Salt and Vinegar Crisps (1/3 bag) 0.5g 50g 0.75g 50%

 

Supermarket: Sainsburys

Product and (estimated portion size) Sodium per 100g Wt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

4 Quarter Pounder Beef and Onion Burgers 0.6g 113g 1.69g 60%
8 Beef Sausages 1.0g 56.7g 1.4g 100%
8 Pork Sausages 0.8g 56.7g 1.13g 80%
4 Mango Salsa Chicken Kebabs 0.4g 80g 0.8g 40%
Chinese Pork Jumbo Ribs 0.16g 112g 0.43g 16%
2 Quarter Pounder Beef Burgers with Cheese and buns 0.7g 225g 3.75g 70%

Sainsburys Barbeque Chicken Combo Drumsticks (1) Onion rings (2) Potato wedges (2) Dips

Total

  0.3g 0.7g 0.5g 0.17g 1.67g   120g 40g 40g 70g   0.9g 0.7g 0.5g 0.3g 2.4g   30% 70% 50% 17%
4 White Hot Dog Rolls 0.52g   1.0g 52%
6 Burger Buns 0.52g   0.8g 52%
Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp) 0.9g 15g 0.32g 90%
Houmous (1 Tbsp) 0.6g 25g 0.38g 60%
Salsa dip (1 Tbsp) 0.4g 25g 0.25g 40%
Taste the Difference Lightly Salted Crisps (1/3 bag) 0.3g 50g 0.37g 30%

 

Supermarket: Marks & Spencers

Product and (estimated portion size) Sodium per 100g Wt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

Hot and Spicy Chicken Thighs 0.88g 150g 3.3g 88%
Chinese Style Chicken Drumsticks 0.68g 90g 1.53g 68%
4 Scotch Beef Quarter Pounder Burgers 0.4g 113g 1.13g 40%
BBQ Jumbo Chicken Tenders 0.33g 100g 0.83g 33%
2 Racks of Pork Ribs and BBQ Marinade 0.87g 140g 3g 87%
6 White Finger Rolls 0.5g 61g 0.75g 50%
Tomato Sauce (1 Tbsp) 1.0g 15g 0.38g 100%
Spicy Salsa (1 Tbsp) 0.22g 25g 0.13g 22%
Mediterranean Deli Houmous (1 Tbsp) 0.55g 25g 0.33g 55%
Salsa Flavour Tortia Chips (1/3 bag) 0.45g 50g 0.56g 45%
Nacho Cheese Flavour Tortia Chips (1/3 bag) 0.79g 50g 0.98g 79%


A typical barbecue meal for one person:

1 M&S hot and spicy chicken thigh = 3.3g salt 1 Sainsburys ¼ pounder burger with cheese and bun =3.75g salt 1 Somerfield pork sausage =1.25g salt 1 serving of Somerfield Tomato ketchup =0.43g salt 1 serving of Sainsburys houmous dip =0.38g salt 1 serving of M &S Nacho cheese tortia chips = 0.98g salt

Total of 10.09g salt in a meal

The Annual Report of the Chief medical Officer 2002

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