Sausage manufacturers have been accused of failing to cut salt levels to meet public health targets.
As a result some brands and supermarkets are putting customers at risk of overdosing on salt, say campaigners.
The lobby group CASH says salt, which is linked to raised blood pressure and strokes, has become a ‘forgotten killer’.
Its research suggests that eating a sausage sandwich for breakfast could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake for salt, which is 6g.
Sausage manufacturers have been accused of failing to cut salt levels to meet public health targets (file photo)
The sausage sandwich would contain more salt than a double cheeseburger and large fries.
A survey by CASH found many premium and vegetarian sausages, including the Quorn brand, had relatively high salt levels.
Earlier this week, academics at Queen’s University Belfast said British sausages were generally free of certain cancer risk chemicals called nitrates and nitrites, which are used in processed meats. However, they did not look at salt and saturated fat, which carry their own risks.
Public Health England (PHE) set a series of voluntary salt reduction targets for sausages which were due to be met by the end of 2017.
However, a survey by CASH – Consensus Action on Salt and Health – found many brands have failed to meet it. As a result, the group says it is time for the Government to use the law to enforce salt reductions.
The PHE target is a maximum of 1.38g of salt per 100g based on sausages in their raw form.
The sausage sandwich could contain more salt than a double cheeseburger and large fries, campaigners have warned (file photo)
The CASH survey, which is largely based on the salt in a sausage once it has been cooked, found more than 50 above that figure.
The highest salt levels were in products sold under the Richmond brand. Its skinless pork sausages came in at 2.3g per 100g.
The figure was 2.2g for its thick pork sausages, oven ready pork sausages, frozen pork sausages and thin pork sausages.
Asda’s premium range ‘Extra Special’ Bacon & Maple Syrup Pork Sausages were high at 2.1g of salt per 100g.
The salt level was a relatively high 1.9g per 100g in Heck brand Spring Chicken Sausages and its Chicken Italia Sausages.
It was 1.8g in Debbie & Andrew’s Clean and Lean High Protein Pork Sausages.
The levels of salt in some sausages are putting customers at risk of overdosing (file photo)
Looking at vegetarian options, the figure was 1.9g in Quorn sausages and 1.6g in some Linda McCartney brands.
CASH said Britons eat more than 175,000 tonnes of sausages each year. That equates to an average of 61g of salt per person, which is equivalent to 134 packets of ready salted crisps.
Graham MacGregor, the Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of CASH, said: ‘The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy.
‘Public Health England must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020 without further delay. Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year.
‘Salt reduction is the most cost-effective and most successful public health preventive measure made to date, and it is a national tragedy that it is being allowed to fail.’
Nutritionist and Campaign Manager at CASH, Sonia Pombo, (correct) said food manufacturers should explore switching from salt to potassium-based salt replacements, which appear to deliver the same flavour without the threat to health.
‘The government should now encourage companies to explore the use of potassium, which is a mineral found naturally in fruit, vegetables other foods, in sausages and help reduce the nation’s blood pressure,’ she said.