Meat processors reject campaign group’s salty bacon claims

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bacon

Salty work: food manufacturers are working to cut salt levels in bacon, said the BMPA
Salty work: food manufacturers are working to cut salt levels in bacon, said the BMPA
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has insisted that food manufacturers are working to cut salt levels in meat, after a pressure group claimed over-salty bacon was threatening the nation’s health.

The BMPA was responding to claims from the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) that food manufacturers were “failing the public”​ by producing “huge and unnecessarily”​ amounts of salt in bacon.

Some products contained more than half of the 6g daily recommendation of salt in just two rashers, it claimed. CASH called for “immediate action”​ from manufacturers and the Department of Health in reducing the levels of salt in bacon.

‘Ways of reducing salt’

But Stephen Rossides, BMPA director, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that UK bacon manufacturers have “progressively reduced salt content”​ and are “continually looking at ways of reducing salt”​ even more.

Rossides also said that there were limitations on how much salt can be reduced by while ensuring that the product was safe and that consumers don’t feel the look and taste has changed.

“You have to have certain salt levels to ensure proper curing of a product, that can provide a longer shelf-life which as long as that’s not exceeded is something that’s desirable,” ​he said.

CASH claimed that some bacon products contained more than half of the 6g daily recommendation of salt in just two rashers.

Large variations were found in the saltiness of bacon, even within the same supermarket, it said. Morrison’s Savers Smoked back bacon range contains 6.8g per 100g, which is more than three times more salt than Morrison’s Best Applewood Smoked back bacon, which has 2g per 100g, claimed the pressure group.

Second biggest contributor

Bacon was now the second biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet after bread, it claimed.

Graham MacGregor, CASH chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Wolfson Institute, Barts & London, said: “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.”

Rossides said: “The findings are interesting and I think the industry needs to reflect on them.”

A DoH spokesman said that typical shopping baskets now contains “15% less salt”​ than it did 10 years ago and that they are taking action to help “reduce salt in people’s diets.”

He added that through the Public Health Responsibility Deal it was “looking at clearer salt labelling on foods as part our consultation on front and back labelling.”

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