A TYPICAL picnic basket of summer snacks can contain “huge” amounts of salt and saturated fat, health campaigners have warned.
One in four savoury picnic foods are “dangerously high” in salt, but nearly one in three had no colour-coded labelling, making it hard for consumers to make healthy choices, UK lobby group Action on Salt (AoS) said.
The organisation is highlighting the need for compulsory labelling on all picnic savouries after a survey of foods in UK supermarkets, many of which are also sold in Ireland, found a typical picnic could contain more than 5g of salt.
The Irish Heart Foundation said our bodies need four grams of salt in a day, and an acceptable maximum level is 6g or a single teaspoon.
Salt content of more than 1.5g per 100g is considered high under the food traffic light system.
In the Aos study, researchers at Queen Mary University of London analysed 555 savoury picnic finger foods available from retailers.
Although noting it was not surprising that olives were salty, AoS found Aldi’s Specially Selected Hand Stuffed Halkidiki Olives (150g) contained 5g of salt per 100g –double the concentration of seawater, while an adult’s suggested portion contained a third of the recommended daily limit of 6g.
Aldi’s Eat & Go Sausages & Ketchup contained 2.2g per portion, as much salt as four-and-a-half bags of ready-salted crisps.
Fry’s Spicy Three Bean Pasty contained 1.8g per portion, the same as a McDonald’s hamburger and fries.
Scotch eggs, with an average salt content of 0.76g per 100g, and quiche, with an average salt content of 0.54g per 100g, were the lowest salt categories.
Nearly half of the products surveyed were “worryingly high” in saturated fat.
Earlier this year, Lidl said it plans to reduce the sugar and salt content of hundreds of its own-brand products before the end of next year.