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article imageGreat British fry up under taste threat from reduced salt targets

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 18, 2011 in Food
The famous coronary on a plate Great British fry up, is under a taste threat, as food producers race to meet government targets to reduce the sodium level in food.
The Great British fry up, otherwise known as a full English breakfast or a coronary on a plate, is a long standing tradition that is now facing another threat to its existence. Already spurned as an everyday choice due to its inherent unhealthy image, it now faces a taste threat as food producers face requirements to reduce the salt content of sausages and bacon.
For those not in the know the typical English breakfast fare consists of eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, fried bread and black pudding. Heavily cholesterol laden it has primarily dwindled to a weekend treat. Other English dishes which just won’t taste the same under a new government health initiative to reduce sodium intake are the bacon butty, bangers and mash, and toad in the hole.
Many governments across the world, including Canada and Australia, are committed to meeting reduced sodium targets in an effort to reduce health problems associated with a high salt intake. The U.K. Department of Health target, outlined in the government salt reduction initiatives paper, is to reduce sodium levels to 1.13g of salt per 100g of food by 2012, with the higher limit of 2.88g allowed for bacon. Whilst great headway has been made in meeting targets, items such as bacon and sausages require salt to act as a preservative. Maureen Strong, nutrition manager for the British Pig Executive, told the Telegraph, “Some of the targets for next year are nigh on impossible – at least without too great a compromise. If you want to reduce the salt in sausages, that often means a whole lot more additives. I don't know if that is what customers are asking for." Controversy has already been raised as Heinz recently changed the recipe for the famous British HP sauce, often added to a British fry up. The recipe for the sauce had been followed for 116 years until the salt level was reduced from 2.1g to 1.3g to meet targets. Whilst the new version of the sauce contains less sodium it has more calories and carbohydrates, and has not been a hit with consumers who decry the change in taste. The Sunday Mercury reported that Michelin starred Chef Marco Pierre White was not amused to discover Heinz had secretly changed the HP sauce recipe. After sending back a pub meal of sausage and mash, he said ‘‘I thought it was off. At first, I thought it was the sausages, but it wasn’t. It was the HP, which tasted disgusting. I had no idea they had changed the recipe.’’ His ire can only be imagined if the sausage recipe had been tampered with too.
As the government tries to educate the public regarding healthy food choices, it risks accusations of acting like a nanny state. Independent butcher Stuart Higginson told the Telegraph "I think the government are overdoing this; most of us don't have bacon and sausages every day, and we want to get some enjoyment from our food when we eat it, not just eat to live."
More about full English breakfast, great british fry up, sodium reduction targets, uk dept of health, salt in bacon
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