Barbecue 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 100gWt 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 Buns0.7g225g3.75g70%62.5%
Marks and Spencers Hot and Spicy Chicken Thighs0.88g150g3.3g88%55%
Marks and Spencers 2 Racks of Pork Ribs and BBQ Marinade0.87g140g3g87%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 Ribs0.9g100g2.25g90%37%

 

Supermarket: Somerfield

Product and (estimated portion size)Sodium per 100gWt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

Chinese Style Spare Ribs0.9g100g2.25g90%
Chinese Chicken Drumsticks0.5g90g1.13g50%
4 Beef Burgers0.6g113.5g1.7g60%
8 Pork Sausages0.9g56.75g1.27g90%
8 Beef and Pork Sausages0.9g56.75g1.27g90%
6 White Burger Baps0.5g 0.75g50%
Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp)1.1g15g0.41g110%
Houmous (1 Tbsp)0.6g25g0.38g60%
Salsa dip (1 Tbsp)0.3g25g0.2g30%
"So Good" Hand Cooked Salt and Vinegar Crisps (1/3 bag)0.5g50g0.75g50%

 

Supermarket: Sainsburys

Product and (estimated portion size)Sodium per 100gWt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

4 Quarter Pounder Beef and Onion Burgers0.6g113g1.69g60%
8 Beef Sausages1.0g56.7g1.4g100%
8 Pork Sausages0.8g56.7g1.13g80%
4 Mango Salsa Chicken Kebabs0.4g80g0.8g40%
Chinese Pork Jumbo Ribs0.16g112g0.43g16%
2 Quarter Pounder Beef Burgers with Cheese and buns0.7g225g3.75g70%

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 Rolls0.52g 1.0g52%
6 Burger Buns0.52g 0.8g52%
Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp)0.9g15g0.32g90%
Houmous (1 Tbsp)0.6g25g0.38g60%
Salsa dip (1 Tbsp)0.4g25g0.25g40%
Taste the Difference Lightly Salted Crisps (1/3 bag)0.3g50g0.37g30%

 

Supermarket: Marks & Spencers

Product and (estimated portion size)Sodium per 100gWt of portion

Salt per portion

(1g sodium = 2.5g salt)

Seawater equivalence

(1g sodium per 100ml H20)

Hot and Spicy Chicken Thighs0.88g150g3.3g88%
Chinese Style Chicken Drumsticks0.68g90g1.53g68%
4 Scotch Beef Quarter Pounder Burgers0.4g113g1.13g40%
BBQ Jumbo Chicken Tenders0.33g100g0.83g33%
2 Racks of Pork Ribs and BBQ Marinade0.87g140g3g87%
6 White Finger Rolls0.5g61g0.75g50%
Tomato Sauce (1 Tbsp)1.0g15g0.38g100%
Spicy Salsa (1 Tbsp)0.22g25g0.13g22%
Mediterranean Deli Houmous (1 Tbsp)0.55g25g0.33g55%
Salsa Flavour Tortia Chips (1/3 bag)0.45g50g0.56g45%
Nacho Cheese Flavour Tortia Chips (1/3 bag)0.79g50g0.98g79%


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