Valentine’s Day meals criticised for high salt levels

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Valentine’s Day meals criticised for high salt levels

Related tags: Food, Sausage

Valentine’s Day meal deals contain “shockingly high” levels of hidden salt, with retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) one of the worst offenders, according to pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).

A survey by the organisation singled out M&S’ meal deal Italian Antipasto Delicatessen Selection, Gastropub Gammon Shanks with a Rich Orange & Cranberry Sauce, Truffled Cauliflower Cheese and Dutch Apple Tarts.

The research indicated that it contained 7.16g of salt per person, more than an adult’s daily recommended maximum allowance.

CASH also identified Valentine’s meal deals from Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda as having high levels of salt (see the box below). It also found that most retailers failed to promote healthier choices to their customers.

Of the retailers surveyed, only M&S, Iceland, The Co-op and Waitrose provided a small choice of unprocessed fruit and vegetables as a side dish/dessert option as part of the deal.

Duty of care

“Retailers should have a duty of care to their customers, so it’s very disappointing to see such a poor offering of healthier choices available in their Valentine’s meal deals,” ​said CASH campaign manager Sonia Pombo.

“While Valentine treats are fine, there is no need to make it at the expense of our health. Many of these meal combinations provide an excessive amount of salt and calories, saturates and sugars, all of which put us at increased risk of heart disease, and could easily be reformulated, with much lower levels of salt.”

CASH chairman Graham MacGregor urged the government to do more to reduce the UK’s salt intake to prevent unnecessary deaths caused by high blood pressure-related diseases.

The government now needs to come up with a new robust plan that slowly reduces the salt content of all foods and stops the food industry from promoting unhealthy products and causing thousands of unnecessary deaths,” ​he added. has approached M&S for a comment.

Meanwhile, CASH welcomed a recent report that concluded using potassium-based salt replacers instead of sodium in food would have a positive impact on public health.

Meal deals highlighted for being high in salt

  • Waitrose:​ Scottish Cooked Mussels in a Bisque Sauce, Easy to Cook Coq au Vin, Cauliflower Cheese and a Salted Caramel & Chocolate Tart – 5.49g salt per person, 92% of an adults maximum recommended intake
  • Morrisons:​ Champagne & Scottish Hot Smoked Salmon Risotto, Salmon, Smoked Haddock & King Prawn Fish Pie, The Best Maris Piper Chunky Chips and Belgian Chocolate & Blood Orange Tarts – 5.45g salt, 91% of an adults’ maximum recommended intake. 
  • Asda:​ Extra Special Cornish Camembert with a Sloe Gin & Cranberry Dip, Extra Special Slow-cooked Pork and Chorizo Stew, Extra Special Garlic & Herb Creamy Mash, Extra Special Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese and Extra Special Red Velvet Melting Puddings – 5.24g of salt, 87% of an adults’ maximum recommended intake.

Related topics: Food Ingredients, Health & Nutrition

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1 comment

Most Treats break the Every Day Rules!!

Posted by Nick Holloway,

The Salt Police are at it again!....... trying to make a point and choosing the wrong occasion and products to illustrate it.
These foods are treats and not eaten every day and should not be compared to the daily allowance.
No one is going to eat a meal like this every day and the higher levels of salt will be averaged out by a normal diet.
Many of the components are either characterised by their salt levels e.g. Salted caramel & choc tart,
or rely on the salt level for their safety or both, eg antipasto dried cured meats, gammon shanks (bacon) smoked salmon and smoked haddock, chorizo.

Yes we should lower our salt intakes, yes we know the health issues involved and yes the manufacturers and retailers must reduce the salt levels in their foods across the board.

Most, if not all of them, have programmes in place to reduce salt levels in food and use alternatives to sodium.
Please CASH, try to take a sensible approach to your campaigning and cut out the sensationalism in your commentary " shockingly high" ..... treats and indulgent food are what they are and are not every day foods.
As for "hidden salt" ??? Where is it hidden?
It will be declared in the ingredient lists on the pack and in the Nutrition statement per 100g declaration on every pack.
What is needed is a balanced commentary, written by someone who really understands food and not sensation seeking articles like this.

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