New research has revealed the humble snag in white bread and tomato sauce contains nearly half of the recommended daily salt intake.
As part of World Salt Awareness Week, The George Institute for Global Health, VicHealth and the Heart Foundation reviewed the salt content in more than 1000 of Australians’ favourite processed meats like sausages, ham and bacon from Australia’s four major supermarkets from 2010 to 2017.
Their report found, on average, one sausage contains more than one-quarter (28 per cent) of your recommended maximum daily salt intake.
While other salty offenders such as bacon and sliced meats reduced their salt content over the years, there was no change to the salt content in sausages.
Heart Foundation Victoria Dietitian Sian Armstrong said the drop in salt in bacon and sliced meat products proved manufacturers can make their meats less salty.
“It’s a massive concern that in almost a decade there’s been no change to the salt levels in sausages. The average Aussie eats 44 sausages a year totalling 16 teaspoons of salt,” Ms Armstrong said.
“And some sausages are three times saltier than others. We need targets to drive manufacturers to make their sausages less salty and improve the health of the population.
“Excess salt is directly linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, kidney disease and stroke,” she said. “One of the best ways to keep your blood pressure down is by eating less salt.”
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said with most of us consuming almost double the recommended amount of salt per day we needed to re-think what we put on the barbie.
“Australians love our snags on the BBQ but I think most people would be surprised to learn just how much salt is in these sausages,” Ms Rechter said.
“Ultimately it shouldn’t be left totally up to the consumer to make healthy choices.
"We want to see manufacturers committing to reformulating their processed meats to have less salt – it can be done.”