Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Outrageous Salt Levels in Packaged Foods

A survey of 260 global food products from manufacturers such as Nestle, KFC and Kellogg’s, found that people in some countries are being fed over twice as much salt in popular global brands as their counterparts in other parts of the world. This survey was done in the UK by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) and reported on in both Food Navigator and in Nutraingredients.

Kellogg’s All Bran, for example, contains 2.15g of salt per 100g in Canada, but only 0.65g of salt per 100g just over the border in the USA. Why would the USA version contain less than a third of the Canadian level? Do Canadians desire a much more salty tasting bran cereal for their breakfasts?

According to the report, menu items at KFC in New Zealand show how absurd some of these differences are. For example, a product called KFC Twister has the lowest salt content per portion in the global survey of KFC foods, while at the exact same time its Fillet Burger has the highest. This shows that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the inclusion of high salt levels on prepared and fast foods. The only conclusion drawn by WASH is that these differences are the result of random choices for local manufacturing.

Only in some cases were differences in legislation, consumer pressure, and local preferences reasonable explanations for the variations. In the UK and Australia, where there has been a concerted effort to reduce salt content, some of the lowest salt levels were observed.


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