Cheese is unnecessarily loaded with salt, campaigners have said after new research found that the majority of cheese has a high salt content.
Researchers found that halloumi and imported blue cheese have the highest amount of salt, while cottage cheese had the lowest.
They also found large variations in salt content among the same types of cheese. Some types of cheddar had much higher levels of salt than others, with supermarket own brands having lower levels than branded counterparts.
The new study, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined 612 cheeses.
Overall the study found that salt content is high among these products, with an average of 1.7g per 100g of cheese.
The authors said: "These findings demonstrate that much larger reductions in the amount of salt added to cheese could be made and much more challenging targets need to be set."
They said that a having a diet high in salt has been linked to numerous adverse affects on health including high blood pressure - which increases a person's risk of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure - and an increased risk of stomach cancer and obesity.
Study co-author Dr Kawther Hashem, from Queen Mary University of London, who is also nutritionist for the campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), said: "These big brands need to stop dragging their heels and catch up with the supermarkets now, or they will be left behind."