herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Children get salt overdose at food chains

SOME children's meals dished up at leading fast-food chains contain more salt than youngsters should be eating in an entire day.

Lunches containing more than a child's recommended 4g of salt were found at popular family restaurants including Nando's, which operates several outlets here.

It had some children's meals containing three times as much salt as a McDonald's Happy Meal of a hamburger and fries.

The UK survey found significant variations in the amount of salt in meals but found it was impossible for parents to make healthy choices because of a lack of nutritional information on menus. A Nandino's (Nando's) veggie burger with creamy mash contained 5.3g of salt, compared to a main dish of Nandino's chicken breast fillet strips at 0.8g.

Side dishes were found to contain extra sources of salt, with Nando's mash or spicy rice containing 1.8g, while a jacket potato, vegetables or salad contained the lowest amount.



Health

"Salt addiction starts in childhood and can lead to serious health issues in later life including high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney disease," one expert said.

"Parents are doing their best, but with the food industry continuing to put huge levels of salt in our food without any information on the menu, our children remain at risk."

Nando's said in a statement: "We are currently revising our children's menu, with specific focus on salt content. A trial of a new range of children's meals will begin on June 25.

"Our most popular item, ordered by half of children, is the Nandino's chicken breast fillet strips, which has been highlighted as a good, low-salt option. And our most popular side dish choice is chips, which are unsalted at 0.1g salt per 100g.

"In our new trial menu the veggie option will contain 66pc less salt and all of the children's options will be well within recommended guidelines."

hnews@herald.ie

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