A good old shake-up?
Article Date: 2013-03-15
A pre-made BLT sandwich and a portion of fish and chips. What’s the difference? The former is a salt-laden convenience food, the latter a substantial meal with a low salt content.
Being Salt Awareness Week, it’s perhaps not surprising the government is ordering a clampdown on the amount of salt fish and chip shop owners add to their customers’ food. What is surprising – or maybe not – is that the government ministers have got the wrong man.
The recommended daily amount (RDA) of salt for an adult is 6 grams. A standard portion of fish, chips and peas contains an average 0.3 grams of salt. Astonishingly, a recent report focusing on a typical BLT sandwich revealed the average salt content out of 15 household brands is 2.42 grams. You don’t need a calculator to work out a portion of fish and chips comprises an average 8 times less salt than most supermarket sandwiches. To stress the point, a portion of fish and chips contains a measly 5% of the RDA of salt. A fish and chip meal is the “saint” to the pre-manufactured food’s “sinner”.
Scratch the surface, and the figures don’t add up. Although there is a tiny amount of salt in mushy peas (which are optional) – as well as some batters – the government seems intent on shaking up the industry. But of all the major take-away foods available in the UK, fish and chips are ranked the lowest in salt content (saturated fat levels are low, too). Of course, the difference between pre-prepared food and freshly-made fish and chips is down to choice: customers have no alternative when it comes to how much salt is in their sandwiches; in contrast, salt levels in fish and chips are almost entirely dependent on how much the customer chooses to add. Individual choices should not tarnish an industry’s reputation.
Apparently, over half of shoppers either do not know or do not care how much salt is in the food they’re buying. Everyone should know this: fish and chips are very low in salt and should not be put in the same bracket as processed foods.