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High street restaurant chains serving too much salt in meals

02 February 2009 by
High street restaurant chains serving too much salt in meals

The UK's high-street restaurant chains are still serving meals with too much salt in them, according to campaigners.

Lobby group Consensus Action on Salt (Cash), together with Trading Standards, surveyed the salt content of 96 meals from 16 popular high-street chains, including Pizza Express, Wagamama, Nando's and Frankie and Benny's.

It found that almost three in four main courses contained 3g of salt, the daily limit for a six-year-old.More than a third of the restaurants surveyed were found to be serving a main dish containing 6g of salt, the recommended daily adult limit.

They added customers would have "no way of knowing" how much salt they were eating and called for calorie labelling on menus to include fat and salt levels.

The restaurant chain performing the worst in the survey was Old Orleans, where a main course of chicken fajitas contains nearly 9g of salt per serving.

Old Orleans also serves wings and ribs with 7.6g of salt per portion and the researchers calculated that an adult eating the chain's chicken wings followed by chicken fajitas and apple pie and ice cream would consume more than 15g of salt in just one sitting - two and a half times the daily limit.

A spokesman for Old Orleans said it recognised that salt content was an issue. "We are immediately retraining all our chefs on the appropriate use of seasoning," he said.

However, the survey found that by comparison, some high street restaurants offered low salt meals, including Beefeater's sirloin steak and chips (0.4g); Café Rouge's steak frites (1.97g); and Harvester's flamed chicken: the original combo (2.1g).

Carrie Bolt, a nutritionist for Cash, called on restaurants to cut back on the salt in their food and allow diners to add it at the table themselves.

"After all, no restaurant would dream of adding sugar to someone's coffee or tea without asking them - why don't they give people the same choice when it comes to salt?" she said.

FSA insists it won't be calorie police for menu labels>>

Menu labelling comes to chain restaurants>>

High levels of salt found in fast-food chains>>

New salt reduction targets published>>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kuhn here.

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