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Concern over healthy salt claims

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/04/2017

Claims about the healthiness of some up-market salt products may need to be taken with a pinch of salt, Consumer NZ says.

The consumer advocacy group says it's identified products from three companies that claim to contain higher levels of essential minerals such as iron and calcium, but that may fall short of meeting the requirements to actually make those claims.

"All salt products on shop shelves are essentially the same - nearly 100 per cent sodium chloride," Consumer chief Sue Chetwin said.

Consumer said to claim to be a source of a specific mineral, a food needed to provide 10 per cent of the Food Standards Code's recommended daily intake.

But salt promoted by Lotus Foods, Mrs Rogers and The Healthy Salt Company did not meet that requirement, with some of the minerals only present in trace amounts, it said.

"Consumers may decide to buy a gourmet salt over a cheaper table variety after seeing these claims about mineral content. But they'll be paying five to 50 times the price," Ms Chetwin said.

The labelling could even encourage some people to use too much salt, having negative affects on health, she said.

"Instead of getting any health benefit, they may be exceeding their daily salt limit and putting their health at risk. The adverse health effects of a high-salt diet are well known."

Consumer says it has raised concerns with the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Comment has been requested from MPI, the Healthy Salt Company, Lotus Foods and Mrs Rogers.

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