It’s made with “vine-ripened tomatoes” and crammed with “delicious and plump” olives, but Barilla’s Olive pasta sauce has been found to contain 90 times more salt than other options.
An analysis of 2215 cooking sauce products sold in the major supermarkets in the past seven years by researchers at the George Institute for Global Health has found a massive variation in salt levels.
It showed Barilla’s Olive sauce was packed with 1.88 grams of salt per 100 grams – more than 90 times the amount in the best option, Tenuta Fragassi’s Napoletana pasta sauce.
“A fresh pasta sauce from the supermarket refrigerator contains almost a third of a daily salt intake in the sauce alone; add cheese and you could be blowing the family’s salt intake to well over the maximum daily limit,” said Clare Farrand, a nutritionist at the George Institute.
“The food industry [must] reduce the amount of salt … to the lowest possible levels immediately to save the maximum number of lives.”
Australians are currently consuming double the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily salt intake of 5 grams a day and showing the consequences, with a third of adults living with high blood pressure.
The study found the saltiest powder-based sauces were made by McCormick (for example, its Garlic & Rosemary Lamb Shanks has 22.38g of salt per 100g) and the saltiest, non-pasta meal-based sauces were made by Pandaroo (its Ezy Asian Thai Stirfry Sauce is loaded with 5.63g of salt per 100g) and Ayam.
Ms Farrand said cooking sauces were one of the highest contributors of salt to the diet, alongside bread, breakfast cereal and processed meat, and reducing the salt content could “improve the health of the nation”.
While the data showed food manufacturers had slowly cut the amount of salt in pasta sauces by 27 per cent since 2010, in line with national salt reduction targets, there were no significant drops in the past two years.
“These results show us that manufacturers can produce these products with much less salt, and we need all manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt to the lowest possible level,” said Ms Farrand.
The study was released to mark the launch of the “Unpack the Salt” campaign, led by VicHealth and the Heart Foundation.
Kellie-Ann Jolly, chief executive of Heart Foundation Victoria, said high blood pressure could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
“We know in a number of foods the salt is hidden, and you can’t see the added salt or taste it, which means you’re unaware of how much salt you’re actually eating,” she said.
“We’ve launched ‘Unpack the Salt’ to help consumers understand the health impacts and to help families reduce their salt intake helping them read labels, giving recipes and tips and tricks.”
McCormick Foods Australia said its “Recipe Base” products were designed to “provide a convenient flavour solution” with the nutritional value of the total meal in mind.
“McCormick will also be reviewing the salt content in our range, and work towards reducing the levels of salt,” Paris Golden, its commercial director, said.
“McCormick welcomes the opportunity to work with the Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership to discuss strategies to help us work toward reducing the salt content in our products.”
Barilla said it had improved the nutritional value of 219 products since 2010, including by reducing salt.
“This is an ongoing process as guidelines evolve and Barilla continues to work to adhere to its commitment on all its products and categories, in all markets it operates,” a spokesman said.
The study also showed on average the salt content of non-pasta, meal-based sauces (for example stir fry, taco and curry sauces) had increased by 29 per cent in the past seven years. Some products contained 10 times more than others.
Black bean/Asian sauces had the highest average salt content, with Ayam’s Pad Thai Stir Fry sauce containing 4.64g per 100g.
Jerril Rechter, head of VicHealth, said: “It’s critical we raise awareness of the dangers of hidden salt in packaged foods to help consumers make the healthy choice for their families,” she said. Shopping tipsTo reduce salt in your diet and for your family, it’s important to know how to check the amount of sodium listed on packaged foods. Use the ‘per 100g’ column to compare the sodium content of different brandsFor cooking sauces, look at the label and aim for less than 400mg sodium per 100gWhen using packaged sauces from the supermarket, try using less – for example, use only half of the packet or jar to reduce the amount of salt you will eat. You can always top up with extra herbs, and vegetablesThe best way to reduce salt is to eat more fresh foods and reduce your reliance on processed and packaged foodsSee unpackthesalt南京夜网419论坛
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