Tesco Full-on-Flavour Simply Pepperoni, 1.8g salt/100g

Diners risk heart disease and stroke because of the excessive sodium content, researchers are warning

A restaurant has been selling pizzas that are saltier than seawater, according to research published today.

The restaurant, in Mill Hill, North London, was singled out in research by health professionals who carried out spot checks on pizzerias across the country. They said the pepperoni pizza from the Adam & Eve restaurant contained 10.57 grams of salt, or 2.73g per 100g of pizza, meaning it is saltier than Atlantic seawater, which contains 2.5g of salt per 100g.

The study found that on average takeaway pizzas had 2.5 times the salt content of those bought from supermarkets. However some supermarket pizzas were still too high in salt – which raises blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiac arrests and strokes.

The study singled out a Tesco pepperoni stone-baked pizza with 4.7g of salt, almost the entire daily recommended maximum for an adult.

To mark Salt Awareness Week, Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) and the Association of London Environmental Health Managers analysed 199 margherita and pepperoni pizzas from local takeaways, pizza chains and leading supermarkets across the country.

Half of the takeaway pizzas contained an adult's entire maximum daily recommendation for salt of 6g, with a few containing more than 10g. On average the takeaway pizzas had 2.7g of salt per 100g of pizza, compared with 1.08g per 100g in the supermarket versions.

CASH said many supermarkets had made "great progress" in removing salt from their house brands, with Morrison's performing particularly well, having five of the 10 lowest-salt own-brand pizzas surveyed.

However many supermarket pizzas would still be officially classified as "unhealthy". None would score a green light for salt, fat or saturated fat under the Food Standards Agency's traffic light labelling system.

CASH's chairman, Professor Graham MacGregor, said: "It's a national disgrace that our health is put at risk; the government is not taking enough action to reduce the amount of salt in the takeaway sector. The supermarkets have made the same pizzas with much less salt – showing how easy it would be for the whole sector to make big salt reductions."

Supermarket sinners

The saltiest supermarket pizzas

1. Tesco Full-on-Flavour Simply Pepperoni, 1.8g salt/100g

2. Iceland Stonebaked Spicy Double Pepperoni, 1.7g

3. Morrison's Triple Pepperoni, 1.7g

4. Dr Oetker Pepperoni Salame, 1.68g

5. Dr Oetker Casa di Mama Quattro Formaggi, 1.6g