High Salt Levels Found In Supermarkets ‘Free From’ Foods

Many wheat, gluten or dairy-free products available in supermarkets contain high levels of salt, according to a new study by health campaigners Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).
The organisation, which campaigns to highlight the damage to health caused by excessive salt consumption, surveyed 71 own-label ‘free from’ products from five UK supermarkets and found over half contained more salt than the retailer’s standard version of the product.
Some of the ‘free from’ foods sampled contained six times as much salt as their standard counterparts, while just less than a third were found to have lower levels of salt.
All of the five supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose – were found to have some ‘free from’ products that fared worse than standard versions on salt levels.
These included Sainsbury’s Free From Jaffa Cakes, Morrisons’ Free From Chocolate Chip Cookies and Asda’s Free From Double Chocolate Muffins .
CASH warned that people choosing products with high levels of salt could be risking their heart health, as too much salt in the diet is linked to raised blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease .
Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH, said: “In general, it has been the supermarket own-label products that have led the way in salt reduction, but it seems that own-label products for people with existing health problems have not been a top priority for the retailers.”
“They must now reformulate the higher-salt products immediately, so that people suffering from Coeliac disease or other related conditions do not have to put their health in further jeopardy.”
He said people should try to keep their salt consumption below the recommended maximum limit of 6g a day.
The British Heart Foundation said it was concerned that such high levels of salt were found in basic foods, such as bread, that are eaten on a daily basis.
A spokeswoman for the British Nutrition Foundation said: “The advice for people selecting ‘free from’ foods is the same as for other consumers buying any foods – check the labels. Be savvy about what you buy.