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Food Standards Agency survey shows salt levels vary considerably in soup.

A new survey of soups released today by the Food Standards Agency shows that salt levels vary significantly in this kitchen cupboard favourite.

Many soups contained as much as a third of the recommended maximum daily intake for an adult per serving while some contained as much as a half.

The survey looked at the salt content in the canned, fresh/chilled and dried soup categories and revealed that not only is there wide variation within each category but there is also wide variation within each flavour.

The dried soup category ranged from 1.2g to 2.9g of salt per serving while two brands of canned mushroom soup contained twice the amount of salt as another canned mushroom brand. No brand was consistently high or low in salt.

The recommended daily intake for salt is 6g, on average adults are currently exceeding this by 3.5g. The Agency launched a public health campaign in September 2004 to highlight the risk of eating too much salt and the increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The Agency is currently working with industry to reduce salt in processed foods which include soups. Gill Fine, Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health, Food Standards Agency said:

"The results show a considerable variation in the level of salt in soups. We welcome the commitment that some manufacturers and retailers have made to reduce salt content in soups but the fact that such a popular and convenient food can provide more than a third of the daily salt limit shows that continued effort in this area is still needed."

This survey is part of the Agency's regular programme of surveys looking at the salt content of a wide variety of everyday foods.

Seventy-seven soups were surveyed in November 2004 purchased from retailers in London and the South East. The survey included canned, fresh/chilled and dried soup varieties of both the top sellers in each category and a range of retailers' own brands.

For making comparisons a standard portion size of 200g was used for all the soups surveyed. The survey covered the following flavour variants: vegetable, tomato, chicken and beef/oxtail canned soup and also included the sugar and fat content of the products from the labels.

The tables also show what the salt content of a child serving (100g) would mean as a percentage of the daily salt intake recommended for a child aged between 4 and 6 years which is 3g.

Contact FSA on tel: 020 7276 8888 or visit www.food.gov.uk/www.salt.gov.uk
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Title Annotation:industry standards
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:430
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