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Discrepancy in salt content on food labels

Random scientific testing was done on some of the common processed foods, made in New Zealand, available in supermarkets//. Out of 168 samples, 12 were found to have sodium content 50% more than what was mentioned on the label. 3 of the 8 samples of processed meat like bacon and piccalilli or chowchow had salt content exceeding the label by 50% or more. Other such offenders are processed chicken, prepared dinners, beef patties, luncheon, salami, bacon, mayonnaise, smoked meat or fish, and pastrami.

There is a connection between salt and high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause serious cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority commissioned the Environmental and Science Research study of the random testing for label compliance, in order to determine the amount of salt obtained by New Zealanders from processed foods. This was carried out as a part of a transtasman project to fight iodine deficiency. Preventable brain damage in children and goiter are caused by deficiency of iodine.

Decreasing salt consumption and the popularity of rock and sea salts have resulted in marked decrease of iodised salt intake. Transtasman food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand intends to require iodised salt to be used in baked cereal products.

Responding to the test results, Green Party spokeswoman Sue Kedgley said: "Look, if it was 2 per cent over, who would care? But 50 per cent over? How can it be so wrong?"

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