National News

Salty snags raise concerns for Aussie BBQs

BBQ loving Australians have been warned a sausage sandwich with tomato sauce contains nearly half the recommended daily salt intake.

Researchers at the The George Institute for Global Health analysed the salt content in more than 1000 processed meat products like sausages, ham and bacon from Australia's four major supermarkets from 2010 to 2017.

While bacon and sliced meats reduced their salt content, there was no change to the salt content of sausages during that seven year period.

On average just one sausage contains more than one-quarter (28 per cent) of an adult's recommended daily salt intake.

The analysis also revealed huge variation in salt content, with some snags three times saltier than others.

Coles thin pork BBQ sausages were the saltiest, containing 2.9 grams of salt per 100g of sausages, according to the research.

The sausages containing the least salt were Cleaver's Organic Beef Sausages (0.95g of salt per 100g).

The researchers warned that when eating a sausage with slice of white bread and tomato sauce a person would consume about 2.35 grams of salt.

It's recommended adults eat less than five grams of salt per day, with excess salt consumption directly linked to high blood pressure - a key risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Heart Foundation Victoria Dietitian Sian Armstrong says the drop in salt in bacon and sliced meat products proves manufacturers can make their meats less salty.

"It's a massive concern that in almost a decade there's been no change to the salt levels in sausages," Ms Armstrong said.

"The average Aussie eats 44 sausages a year totalling 16 teaspoons of salt," Ms Armstrong said.

Public health experts have called for national targets to be established to drive manufacturers to reformulate their processed sausages to make them less salty.

"We know that setting salt targets and regular monitoring of the food industry towards achieving the targets works. Currently there are no salt targets for sausages - which is of huge concern, given how much salt they contain, and their popularity," the report's lead author Clare Farrand, a nutritionist at the George Institute said.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter also reminded consumers to be more mindful of salt content the next time they reach for the snags in the supermarket aisle.

"We understand that sausages can be a quick BBQ option, but next time why not try filling the hot plate with other healthier options like chicken or veggie skewers," Ms Rechter said.

© AAP 2018

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