A POPULAR Chinese takeaway dish contains five times more salt than a Big Mac, experts have warned. Slimming World's Chinese Style Banquet Rice had 4.4 grams of salt per 550-gram pack and Marks & Spencer Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Banquet contained 4.13 grams of salt per 500-gram pack.
Chinese ready meals and takeaway dishes should include health warnings on packaging and menus to inform customers about the food's "astonishing and harmful" salt levels, experts say. Adding noodles took the salt figure to 11.5g - the equivalent to 33 packets of crisps.
"This week, as part of Salt Awareness Week, we are asking everyone, including the food industry, to think first and use less salt".
In February, new voluntary codes of practice restricting the advertising and marketing in Ireland of high fat, sugar, salt (HFSS) foods, such as snack foods, fizzy drinks and confectionary was announced.
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Action on Salt is now calling on Public Health England (PHE) to set new salt targets and make front of pack labelling mandatory.
Action on Salt also looked at 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals.
Main courses (such as beef in black bean sauce) topped the list, but accompanying dishes such as rice, spring rolls or prawn crackers can also add to the total salt quantity.
Decreasing salt consumption to 6 grams a day (from the current average of about 8.1 grams) would save lives of nearly 17,000 Brits a year, according to Action on Salt.
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According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the average daily salt intake in Ireland is approximately 10g in adults.
"Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year", said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.
Meanwhile, a Big Mac from McDonald's contains just 2.3g of salt - around a third of the recommended healthy limit.
United Kingdom nonprofit, Action on Salt, picked up 141 supermarket-ready meals as well as offerings of six restaurants in London's Chinatown. "This reduction will have a large impact on reducing strokes by approximately 22% and heart attacks by 16% saving 17,000 lives in the United Kingdom as well as other health benefits for the population", Salt on Action said.
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Some supermarket meals contained more salt than two store-bought Pizza Express Margherita Pizzas AND certain rice dishes have more salt than 11 bags ready salted crisps.