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The Aussie Sausage Sanga Is Proving A Snag To Good Health

‘A massive concern’

The Aussie Sausage Sanga Is Proving A Snag To Good Health Image: The George Institute

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.”

Tips for reducing your salt intake.

  • Try lean meats such as chicken breast and steak on the BBQ instead of sausages – these have much less salt.
  • Try chicken, beef or lamb skewers and add veggies for a healthier and lower salt alternative to sausages.
  • Fill the BBQ with vegetables like corn on the cob, eggplant, mushrooms, capsicum and onion. You can make these into skewers to make them easier and more fun to eat for the kids.
  • The best way to reduce salt is to eat more fresh foods and reduce your reliance on processed and packaged foods.
  • Sodium is one component of salt – it is the sodium that is labelled on nutrition information panels on packaged foods.