Salty claims annoy sausage makers

Sausage manufacturers have hit back at a recent report which has condemned sausages for containing dangerously high levels of salt, claiming it is misleading.

The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has published a survey revealing the salt content of 300 different makes of sausages commonly available in the supermarkets.

It found that 30% of sausages had salt levels which exceeded the government’s current 2010 UK targets of 1.4g per 100g, with some sausages containing nearly half the adult daily maximum recommendation of salt.

It said that many sausages are "shockingly high in salt" and concluded that the enormous difference in salt content regardless of price, flavour or meat contents meant that “the hidden salt is completely unnecessary.”

However, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said that the data was misleading as  different producers label their products differently.

BMPA technical manager Elizabeth Andoh-Kesson said that sausage manufacturers needed to discuss ways to unify labelling to make it easier for consumers to determine the salt levels. However, she also noted that the cooking method could affect salt levels in the product. 

Three of Kerry Foods’s Richmond sausages were named as the saltiest sausages, with four others containing more than 2g of salt per 100g.

A spokesman for Richmond Sausage said: “Contrary to the findings of this report, all Richmond sausages meet the FSA’s 2010 salt reduction targets.

“The CASH survey was fundamentally flawed as it failed to recognise that the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) salt targets refer to raw products, rather than cooked. This type of public report is extremely unhelpful to companies such as ours who are making significant efforts to improve the nutritional profile of their products.”

The government wants to reduce salt targets by 15% by 2012, taking the level of salt in sausages to 1.3g per 100g,