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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Sausage survey shows salt threat
Experts are worried over the salt content of sausages
The great British banger may threaten our health - by containing far too much salt, say watchdogs.

A survey of dozens of makes and brands by the Food Standards Agency found that most have levels which make it hard for consumers to stick to daily limits.

The agency said that manufacturers had made little effort to bring down levels following a similar report in 1991.

High intakes of salt have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

In fact, on average, the amount of salt in sausages has increased, rising from 2.2 grammes per portion - two sausages - to 2.4 grammes over the past 12 years.

How much salt should you have?
Up to 6 months: less than 1g per day
7 to 12 months: 1g per day
1 to 3 years: Up to 2g per day
4 to 6 years: 3g per day
7 to 10 years: 5g per day
11 and above: 6g per day
Experts have recommended a daily maximum salt intake of six grammes - and a plate of sausage, chips and beans would contain 4.3 grammes - making it nigh-on impossible for an adult to stay within that limit.

Children should be eating even less salt - perhaps only five grammes a day.

One of the most popular sausage brands, Richmond, had the highest salt content, according to the FSA.

Marks and Spencer and the Co-op were among those producing sausages with the least salt - although the honour of the lowest reading went to a children's range from Sainsbury's, although children should have even less salt in their diets.

Fat fall

While the average fat content in sausages has fallen since 1991, in "high quality" brands, fat levels have increased by 35% since that date.

Saltiest sausages (grams per portion)
Richmond Irish Recipe: 2.09
Safeway Pork and Beef: 1.91
Walls Thick Pork: 1.83
Tesco Vegetarian Lincolnshire: 1.77
Sainsbury's Pork: 1.75
Iceland Thick Pork and Beef: 1.73
Julia Unwin, the deputy chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "Sausages are popular, particularly in the summer barbecue season, but our survey shows that their salt levels are still too high.

"Having too much salt in your diet can contribute to two of the big killers in the UK, heart disease and stroke.

"Manufacturers and retailers are starting to respond to our calls to reduce the amounts of salt and fat in their food, but their need to go further and play their part in improving their nation's health."


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