10:01am Monday 7th February 2011
By Hannah Baker
Salt levels in many takeaway meals sold in Bradford and neighbouring districts remain too high, research has found.
A survey to examine the nutritional quality of food served at takeaways by West Yorkshire Trading Standards discovered salt levels had changed little since similar research was carried out five years ago.
Of the 160 meals sampled at 58 takeaways, almost half contained 6g of salt, the maximum recommended daily intake for an adult.
The average Chinese takeaway examined contained 7g of salt, with one sample of special chow mein containing 20.1g – more than three teaspoons-full.
The West Yorkshire Public Analyst, which was also involved in the research, has warned that eating salty takeaways could lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of having a stroke.
The survey aimed to reach independent food businesses that had not responded to attempts by the Food Standards Agency to reduce average salt intake in the UK.
All takeaways found to be exceeding recommended targets will be offered help to reduce salt levels. Some businesses said customers would complain if the food was not salty enough, while others offered to provide low salt options.
Peter Chiu, owner of Don Wang takeaway in Cullingworth and vice-chairman of the West Yorkshire Chinese Community Association, said he has tested his food to try and keep salt levels low.
He said: “I have been running this business for 34 years and nobody’s complained about too much salt. I don’t know about other businesses.
“Sometimes customers put two sauces on their food, such as oyster sauce and soy sauce, and that can increase salt.”
Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said: “West Yorkshire Trading Standards is committed to improving the health of local people. “One simple way to do this is to reduce salt consumption. It doesn’t cost anything to reduce salt levels, and if it is done gradually consumers will not notice the difference in taste.”
Bradford Councillor Val Slater, chairman of the Trading Standards Committee, said: “This message goes out to the customers as well as the takeaway owners.
If more consumers ask for lower salt options this would help drive salt levels down generally.
“Speak to the owner of your local takeaway and ask him what he is doing to improve the nutritional quality of his meals. Takeaways do not have to be unhealthy.”
The saltiest food on previous surveys included 12g of salt in a donner kebab and 13g of salt in a special chow mein.
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