London pubs serving dangerous amount of salt in meals

04 June 2009 by
London pubs serving dangerous amount of salt in meals

London pubs are serving huge amounts of salt in their meals, research has found.

A survey by lobby group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) found that many pub meals in the capital contain more than the daily maximum limit of salt for an adult of 6g.

The research, which was carried out by London Environmental Health Officers, sampled 57 popular menu items from 16 of some of the UK's favourite pub chains for their salt, fat, saturated fat and calorie content.

It found that over half (55%) of the main course dishes contained 3g of salt or more and 91% contained more than 2g of salt.

The saltiest main course dish found was hunter's chicken, from Vintage Inns' Ye Olde Cherry Tree pub in the London Borough of Enfield, with 5.78g of salt.

A three-course meal at the pub including a starter of tomato and basil soup (1.45g salt) followed by the hunter's chicken (5.78g salt) and sticky toffee pudding (1.05g salt) would contain a total of 8.28g of salt, well over the maximum daily limit.

Carrie Bolt, nutritionist at CASH, said there was now a big difference between food bought from supermarkets, and foods served in pubs and restaurants.

"UK food retailers are leading the way in reducing salt levels in our food and making sure that their products are clearly labelled so that shoppers can see how much salt and saturated fat they contain. But when we buy a meal in a pub or restaurant we generally have no way of knowing how much salt or saturated fat it contains," she said.

"Some chains are now starting to put nutritional information in their pubs and online menus and we would like to see all pubs adopt this approach.

"We would also like to see pubs cut back on the amount of salt they add during the cooking stage, allowing customers to choose if they would like to add more salt at the table."

In February the Food Standards Agency announced that a number of pub chains had signed up to its healthier meals initiative, which includes a commitment to reduce salt in meals.

FSA urges food industry to cut back salt levels further >>

Marco turns the heat on salt >>

High street restaurant chains serving too much salt in meals >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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