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Bitter truth of salt exposed

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 29 September, 2022 12:00 AM
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Bitter truth of salt exposed

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Almost two-thirds of the processed packaged foods found in Bangladesh contain salt more than recommended level, says a study.

The study titled 'Assessment of Salt Content and Label Compliance of Commonly Consumed Processed Packaged Foods of Bangladesh’ was conducted by the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh.

The findings of the research conducted with the support of Resolve to Save Lives, USA were disclosed at a seminar at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital on Wednesday.

Dr. SM Mahbubus Sobhan, Research Coordinator of National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute was the coordinator of the project while Dr Ahmad Khairul Abrar, Research Coordinator, Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation presented the findings. The results were obtained by examining samples of 105 popular brands.

According to the study, 61 percent of popular processed packaged foods such as biscuits, chips, chanachur, noodles, instant soup, jhalmuri (hot, spicy puffed rice), pickles and chutney contain more salt than necessary as up to 750 mg salt per 100 gram food is safe.

On the other hand, 34 percent of the processed food has salt twice the recommended level as they have 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams, it added. 83 percent of pickles and chutneys, 63 per cent of chips and 60 per cent of fried peas contain salt more than 1.5 grams per 100 grams.  None of the chips and fried peas contains safe level of salt.

Besides, there is no official maximum limit for salt in processed food in Bangladesh. As a result, companies add as much salt as they want to their products.

However, as per the Packaged Food Labeling Regulations 2017, it is mandatory to indicate the amount of salt present in the processed food on the package label. But 44 percent of the foods have more salt than the amount stated on the packets.

Research has shown that 97 percent of people consume these types of food. On average a person consumes these types of foods 15 times a week i.e. more than two times a day. And excessive salt intake is associated with the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease.

The study said in order to prevent these diseases, the government should take initiative to set maximum limit of salt in the processed food in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization.

It should also ensure that nutritional information is properly mentioned on the packets of food products so that a consumer can easily understand whether the food is healthy or unhealthy, it added.