ONE in four loaves has as much salt per slice as a packet of crisps, new health 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 28pc of loaves contained as much salt, or more, per slice than a packet of crisps.
Cash has called for clearer labelling on bread from supermarket and high street bakeries, which often have no nutritional labelling, making it impossible to know how much salt they contain.
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 (18pc) 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.
Cash chairman Professor Graham MacGregor said: "The Department of Health needs to ensure that all bread is clearly labelled and that manufacturers reduce the salt of bread to less than the target of 1g/100g.
"If all manufacturers cut the salt in their breads by a half, it would reduce our salt intakes by half a gram per day, which is predicted to prevent over 3,000 deaths from strokes and heart attacks a year."