The salt police, it seems have our great British fry-up in their sights.
But Government targets are about to put the great British breakfast under threat.
Butchers and other food retailers say health diktats to reduce salt levels could ruin the taste of some of our favourite dishes, with producers of bacon and sausages facing the greatest difficulties.
I am reminded of Jim Hacker’s campaign to save the British banger. Although in this case the threat is real rather than imagined.
As the article makes clear, salt is part of the preservation process for bacon as well as giving it a distinctive flavour.
The food industry does itself no good by conceding to these zealots. Any concession merely confirms the principle, all that is left is the amount to be made and each one leads to another. It’s like that comment from the Robert Redford film whereby he tries to entice a woman to sleep with him for a million dollars. When she asks sharply what he thinks she is, he replies that this has been ascertained, all that is now left to negotiate is the price.
Fortunately some are fighting back:
Some independent butchers have said they have no intention of changing cherished recipes to meet the demands of the “salt police”.
Good. And we should support them by buying our bangers and bacon from them. Certainly I have no intention of reducing my salt intake to satisfy the obsession of the control freaks. And let us not forget that these people are not confining themselves to our diets and whether we smoke. Alcohol is once more a target of these temperance merchants. As Dick Puddlecote says in his post, we need to stand together. It doesn’t matter if smoking or drinking isn’t your bag – or if you don’t like salt on your chips – tomorrow you will be in the cross hairs for whatever it is that you do.
Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, Deputy Food Director for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said it was “pointless” to put huge efforts into reducing salt if only left consumers adding large amounts themselves at the dinner table.
Which is what I do. Also, Mrs L and I cook using raw ingredients and add salt in the cooking process according to the recipe we are using. Certainly I wouldn’t dream of boiling rice, pasta or vegetables without salt.
“Our members have made fantastic progress reducing the levels of salt in food in recent years,” she said. “In some cases we’ve come as far as we can without help from science. If salt is reduced further there’s a danger that products will no longer taste the way customers want them to.”
Science has nothing to do with this war on salt. But Martinez-Inchausti is correct about affecting the taste. Maybe that’s what it will take for people to realise what is going on here.
Research will be conducted from next month to see if any new processes or ingredients can be found to overcome the problems.
I have a solution to the problem – home cooking. When salt can only be bought on the black market, then the process of making drugs barons rich beyond their wildest dreams will be complete.
It is aimed at helping consumers follow health advice to limit their salt intake to 6g a day, in order to prevent high blood pressure that can lead to strokes and heart disease.
And herein lies the problem, apparent correlation does not equal causation no matter how much they bleat about it. I have no desire to reduce my salt intake and having low blood pressure am not at risk of high blood pressure anyway – not unless something pretty drastic happens and if it does, salt in my diet will be the least of my problems.
Mick Norkett, founder of the East London Sausage Company, based in Walthamstow, said he would try to meet next year’s targets.
No, no, no… The appropriate response to these targets is to tell the bastards to engage in procreation and travel – somewhere particularly nasty preferably. You do not roll over and concede.
“We do our best to keep the levels low, but salt is a preservative, and in sausages, it is in the skins as well as the sausage meat,” he said.
Well, I don’t and don’t plan to. I like my salt and will continue to add it to my food both during cooking and as a condiment at the table.
“If you are having a fry up, and trying to be keep salt levels down, I think the best thing is to stop adding salt at the table, and to avoid slathering on ketchups and beans that are packed full of the stuff.”
I’m not over keen on ketchup, but the beans will go on as well as a sprinkle of salt to flavour.
Hands off our fry-ups!