Food group warns about excessive sodium intake

INSTANT ILLNESS::The group issued its warning on the health risks posed by a high-salt diet after a survey of instant noodles revealed false sodium content labeling

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - Page 4

The Taiwan Association of Food Protection yesterday cautioned people over the damage caused by excessive sodium intake, after a recent test by the Taipei City Department of Health revealed that the amount of sodium in some instant noodles exceeded the amount stated on the packages by almost threefold.

Last month, the Department of Health randomly tested the sodium content of 35 samples of instant noodles and found that six of them had falsely stated their sodium content on the ingredient labels.

Of these six, one had a sodium content lower than the amount indicated on the label, but the other five contained more sodium than advertised on the products’ packaging.

The Taiwan Association of Food Protection subsequently released a report by Cheng Chin-pao (鄭金寶), the director of the department of dietetics at National Taiwan University Hospital, alterting consumers of instant noodles to the guidance on dietary salt intake issued by the WHO.

In the report, Cheng said that some brand-name instant noodles contain as much as 2,900mg of sodium per pack, an amount that exceeds the recommended daily intake by almost 1.5 times.

The new guidelines on sodium intake issued by the WHO state that “adults should consume less than 2,000mg of sodium, or 5g of salt” per day.

The organization also warns that an individual with elevated sodium levels “could be at risk of raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.”

However, the latest national Nutrition and Health Survey, conducted by the Department of Health, shows that the daily salt intake of the average Taiwanese adult is between 9g and 10g, far higher than the WHO’s recommended amount.

The survey also showed that the salt intake of those who often eat out or favor salty food can be as high as 15g a day, indicating that the average Taiwanese is at risk of damaging their health due to excessive sodium intake.