Half (48%) of all pizzas surveyed in the UK (612 out of 1,267) exceed the maximum recommended daily salt intake (6g/day). This is despite a call to action in 2012 following a previous pizza survey and new salt reduction targets set by the Department of Health.
The survey by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health) found that nearly three quarters (73%) of all restaurants and takeaway pizzas (586 out of 802) surveyed contain more salt per pizza than an entire maximum daily recommended salt intake. CASH said this was equivalent to 3 teaspoons of salt, which is 3 times the recommended daily limit. The organisation said this was more salt than in 7 Big Macs.
CASH previously carried out a similar survey in 2012 and found that the majority of pizzas (59%) mentioned in both surveys have either remained the same or increased in salt content.
Sonia Pombo, nutritionist at CASH, said, "Most of us aren't aware of how much salt we actually eat on a daily basis, and thus the danger we are putting ourselves in. With three-quarters of our salt intakes coming from processed foods such as pizza, how are any of us able to choose a healthier diet?
“We need the food industry to help us improve our diet, not to hide 3 times more salt than is recommended in a day in a single pizza!”
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of CASH and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at St Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: “Eating too much salt puts up our blood pressure, the major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure; it’s the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Reducing salt intake around the world would save millions of lives each year.
“At the World Health Assembly in May 2013 it was unanimously agreed that all countries should reduce their daily salt intake by 30% towards a target of up to 5g per day, by 2025. Our survey has shown that many pizza manufacturers are still adding very large and completely unnecessary amounts of salt to their pizzas. This is completely unacceptable and our advice is to avoid eating pizzas from these manufacturers.”
Takeaway pizzas including Papa John's Stuffed Crust Sausage & Pepperoni and Domino's Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Passion pizza contain as much as 16g salt per medium-sized pizza, according to the CASH survey.