Posted by Tom Shingler on 29/11/2012
The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) report claims that the average portion of Cheddar contains more salt than a packet of crisps, with some varieties containing more than seawater.
It also said many cheeses were unnecessarily high in salt and called for the Government to set lower salt targets for producers.
But the Dairy Council has said the report is misleading and simply restates known facts.
Dr Judith Bryans, director of the Dairy Council, said, “This survey tells us a lot of what is already known – that different types of cheese contains different levels of salt. Some are lower and some are slightly higher. But it’s wrong to draw the health conclusions that CASH do.
“The CASH survey is mixing up the effect of cheese on health with the effect of salt on health. Cheese is a whole food with a complex nutritional make up which has not been shown to cause heart disease or stroke. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that cheese contributes only four percent of the nation’s salt intake.
“Salt is an integral part of the cheesemaking process. It is not added for taste or flavour but for safety and technical reasons. In actual fact cheese manufacturers have worked very hard to reduce salt levels in their products and worked constructively and positively with government agencies to do this whilst producing products which are nutritious, safe and acceptable to the consumer.
“We do not think it is constructive to send out a message that a cheese sandwich is not good for you. Cheese provides a wide range of nutrients including protein, vitamins and important minerals such as calcium. People have been eating cheese sandwiches and been nourished by them for many years. No one should eat too much of anything but cheese and dairy are an important part of a healthy diet.”