Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Chinese Takeaways should Carry Health Warning Labels

Chinese Takeaways should Carry Health Warning Labels

Action on Salt is calling on governmental action to limit levels of salt in meals through setting new salt targets, making front of pack labelling mandatory and putting warning labels on menus for dishes high in salt.

With 22 million takeaways eaten by United Kingdom adults each week - Chinese being the most popular - there's an urgent demand to drastically cut salt content, they said.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals are also packed with salt - with some containing more than two store-bought Pizza Express Margheritas, according to the study.

Unsurprisingly, soy sauce, which tastes salty, contains more salt than some other dipping sauces, but sweet ones, such as chilli sauce or plum sauce, may also contain lots.

An analysis of Chinese takeaway meals purchased from six independent restaurants in London's famous Chinatown revealed 97% contained a hefty 2g of salt or more per dish.

But adding a serving of egg fried rice to your order could deliver anything between an extra 5.3g and 2.3g of salt. With this in mind, Action on Salt, a group concerned with salt and its effects on health, supported by 25 expert scientific members, analyzed 150 Chinese foods.

More salt is added when consumers add side dishes and dipping sauces to their meals as these provide almost another 4 grams of salt per person.

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Health experts said that reducing the amount of salt intake is considered as the most cost-effective means to reduce the number of people who die or suffer from strokes and heart diseases.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England's chief nutritionist, said: "Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade - a loaf of bread has forty per cent less than it used to".

Professor Graham MacGregor, of Queen Mary University, London, and Chairman of Action on Salt, added: "Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year".

"However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further".

Consuming too much salt has been associated with the development of degenerative health conditions, which include heart disease.

"We've been very clear with the food industry on the importance of meeting the 2017 salt targets".

Public Health England has been encouraging the food industry to cut salt levels in food.

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