Restaurants 'put diners' health at risk'

Some meals at restaurant chains are so salty they put diners' health at risk, a survey shows. Of 47 main courses, three-quarters had more than 3g of salt and seven had more than the 6g recommended daily limit for an adult set by the Food Standard Agency. Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), which did the survey, found the saltiest dishes at Old Orleans, Pizza Express and Wagamama.

A chicken wings starter, chicken fajitas and apple pie for dessert at Old Orleans contained 15g, and a Wagamama duck starter, chicken noodle dish and cheesecake totalled 11.3g.

Trading standards officers from 15 councils in England collected samples of meals, and food scientists found the saltiest main course was Old Orleans' chicken fajitas, with 8.8g salt; its wings and ribs had 7.6g salt per portion.

Food producers use salt to intensify flavour and sometimes to mask cheap ingredients. Campaigners say reducing average daily salt consumption to 6g will save 20,000 lives a year from stroke and heart disease. Old Orleans said it would retrain chefs to remind them of "appropriate seasoning". Wagamama said it was reducing salt where possible, as did Pizza Express.