A killer on the shelves: the shocking truth about children's food
Article in the Independent
1) Baked beans and beef-burgers; sausages and cereals; pizzas and pita breads are among the most innocuous sounding items we might throw into a supermarket trolley: lunchbox staples and dinner-time essentials that many parents rely upon to keep their offspring happy and their wallets not entirely depleted.
But these foods have a hidden catch, an ingredient whose danger – despite being well-documented by health experts – is still not recognised by the average consumer. Although small amounts of this mineral are essential to life, we take so much that it has become an insidious killer, responsible for more deaths than wars, traffic accidents or illegal drugs. And yet it is kept in kitchens across the country – next to the pepper.
Salt, the secret killer of processed food, is everywhere. We eat two-thirds more of it than we should. Every time we tuck into a sandwich, or a packet of crisps – sometimes even cheese – there is a good chance we are raising our blood pressure.
2) With encouragement from the FSA, manufacturers have been reducing the amount of salt in food for the past 10 years. [I find that a questionable statement. - The FSA was not even in existence 10 years ago. It did not get started till 2000. And its salt advice, to the best of my recollection and knowledge did not start till 2003.]
3) Professor Graham MacGregor, Cash's chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at St George's Hospital in London, urged manufacturers to step up their efforts to take salt out of food. "Anything that lowers blood pressure in childhood is likely to translate into lower levels of blood pressure in adult life, with reduced risk of developing heart disease and stroke," he said.
"And it's not just heart attacks and strokes that are caused by a high-salt diet. Too much salt is also linked with stomach cancer and osteoporosis and can aggravate the symptoms of asthma.
"If they really cannot reduce the salt content in food eaten by children to reasonable levels, perhaps they should consider ceasing production." [My emphasis.]
4) The British food and drink industry is keen to show that it is acting responsibly. An analysis of 100,000 products for the Food and Drink Federation by market research firm TNS Worldpanel showed that, in the past 12 months, 2,000 tons of salt had been removed from crisps, breakfast cereals, bread, home cooking products, and canned goods. Peter East, a director of TNS Worldpanel, said the average consumer purchased 0.3 per cent less salt in 2007.
That's a laugh! - "Peter East, a director of TNS Worldpanel, said the average consumer purchased 0.3 per cent less salt in 2007." - 0.3% less! - A few grains! - Good grief! Is he joking?
High salt intake in childhood causes child obesity. - It's disgraceful that this hugely important fact is not published by the obesity 'experts' and the experts on high blood pressure.