As much salt in bread 'as crisps'
One in four bread loaves contains as much salt per slice as a packet of crisps, new research has found.
Consensus Action on Salt & Health (Cash), a campaign group of medics, surveyed the salt content of 294 fresh and packaged loaves from supermarkets and their in-store bakeries as well as chain and independent high street bakeries, and found many were packed with hidden salt.
It found 28% of loaves surveyed contained as much salt, or more, per slice than a packet of crisps.
Cash has called for clearer labelling on bread from in-store supermarket and high street bakeries, which often have no nutritional labelling, making it impossible for consumers to know how much salt they are eating. It also found that as well as being unlabelled, some high street chain bread contains more than three times as much salt per 100g than bread baked in supermarkets.
The findings come after the Department of Health announced that bread is the largest contributor of salt to our diet, providing almost a fifth (18%) of our current daily salt intake. Current salt intake in the UK is 8.6g, with the maximum daily recommendation at 6g.
Cash campaign director Katharine Jenner said: "Most people wouldn't realise that bread contains so much salt, as it doesn't taste salty. It is scandalous that there is no labelling on fresh bread. Without it, how are we supposed to know where salt is hidden and cut our intake to less than 6g a day?"
Cash found the highest standard packaged bread was Cranks Seeded Farmhouse at 2.03g/100g, which contained nearly four times more salt than the lowest - a Marks & Spencer's Simply More Eat Well Healthiest White Bread (0.58g/100g). It said speciality breads, such as rye bread, were often perceived as healthier but could be high in salt.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "We welcome the considerable salt reductions that bread makers have already made, and it is very pleasing to see that around 60% of the products sampled already meet the salt targets for 2012.
"This is an important step in helping to reduce salt intake, as well as lowering the risk of high blood pressure and resulting strokes and heart disease.
"We look forward to seeing further reductions as more companies meet the targets."