Chains warned over salt in children's meals
14 June, 2012
Health campaigners are targeting leading brands Wetherspoons, Nando's and Harvester over the level of salt in meals consumed by children. All offer dishes ontaining the entire recommended 4g daily limit for a child – or even more - they say.
Consensus Action on Salt and Health director Katharine Jenner said: “Children’s meals should provide tasty and healthy alternatives to adult dishes. It is an outrage that families may be unknowingly putting their children’s health at risk.”
The health campaign group found Nando’s Nandino’s veggie burger with creamy mash contained 5.3g of salt, Wetherspoon’s ham and cheese sandwich with chips had 4.8g, and Harvester’s gammon and chicken combo with mashed potato and beans contained 4.3g. Sizzling pubs’ 4oz gammon, mash and beans contained 4.1g salt and another Wetherspoon meal, chicken nuggets with chips and baked beans, contained 4g. The findings are part of a survey of 11 leading chains.
Nando’s has already said it plans to axe the creamy mash and bring in a new kids’ menu which will offer veggie burgers with 66% less salt. It added it that a new range of children's dishes would be launched at the end of the month.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said it was reviewing the salt levels in some of its dishes: "We take on board the findings of the report."
CASH found low-salt options were available but said menus lacked nutritional information. but found it was impossible for parents to make healthy choices because of a lack of nutritional information on menus.
Wetherspoons offered an Annabel Karmel spaghetti bolognese containing just 0.1g of salt, while Sizzling Pub had a chicken breast with jacket potato and peas with 0.8g.
Other low-salt options included McDonald's four-piece chicken nuggets and fruit bag, containing 0.4g of salt, Wimpy fish bites with salad (0.5g), Hungry Horse fish fingers and jacket potato with peas, corn or salad (0.73g), and a KFC popcorn chicken with corn cobette (0.78g).
High-salt diets can cause high blood pressure and raise the risk of stroke and heart disease later in life. A British Heart Foundation spokesman said yesterday: “Parents are being kept in the dark about the amount of salt served up in their child’s food.”