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Group warns of high salt in Chinese takeaways

A CAMPAIGN Group has called on providers of Chinese takeaway meals from restaurants and supermarkets to attach health warnings to the meals because they are often high in salt.

The group, called Action on Salt, say they analysed more than 150 dishes and found some contained half an adult’s recommended 6g (0.2oz) daily allowance of salt.

They said main courses such as beef in black bean sauce topped the salty list and added that a serving of additional egg fried rice to your order could deliver anything between an extra 5.3g and 2.3g of salt while adding side dishes and dipping sauces to your meal could provide nearly another 4g salt per person.

The group says few of the takeaway restaurant dishes came in at under 2g of salt as prawn crackers and vegetable spring rolls ranged from 0.8g to 1.4g of salt per portion, adding that supermarket-bought Chinese meals varied widely in salt content.

It adds that Spare ribs and crispy aromatic duck were towards the bottom of the list, while saucy rice or noodle-based dishes were higher up.

Unsurprisingly, soy sauce, which tastes salty, contains more salt than some other dipping sauces, but sweet ones, such as chilli sauce or plum sauce, may also contain lots.

Checking the nutritional values on food packaging can help you check how much salt you will be eating.

Action on Salt say of the 141 ready meals analysed, 43% were high in salt, meaning they would typically carry a red notification label on the pack.

“Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Most of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods, rather than added at the table,” the group said..

Policy Advisor and Secretary to the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance, Mr Issah Ali, later in an interview, said there was the need to regulate the intake of salt, which facilitates the spread of NCDs among the population.

He recommended that workplace canteens and caterers of the School Feeding Programme should use low salt, and as well introduce nutrition labeling on all food products, to enable consumers to make informed choices.

Mr Ali called for engagement of stakeholders in the food industry to reduce salt in their products while showing concern about the salt consumption of the population by educating and sensitising them to the dangers of high salt intake.

“There is the need for the Ministry of Health, Food and Drugs Authority, National Health Insurance Scheme and the Ghana Health Service to adhere to calls from civil society groups and immediately start the development of a National Healthy Diet Policy to regulate salt intake and labeling in the country,” he said.


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