The humble sausage in bread with tomato sauce could be putting Aussies' health at risk as it contains almost half an adult's daily recommended salt intake in one hit, new research reveals.
Sausage wrapped in bread and sauce
More than 100 processed meats from sausages, ham to bacon from Australia's major supermarkets were compared for their salt content in the research by The George Institute for Global Health, VicHealth and the Heart Foundation.
Australians eat about 1.1 billion sausages each year containing 1500 tonnes of salt.
Report lead author and nutritionist Clare Farrand said some sausages contained 2g of salt per serving which was almost 80 per cent of a person's total daily salt intake.
Heart Foundation Victoria dietitian Sian Armstrong said there had been a drop in the salt in bacon and sliced meat products - but not sausages.
"It's a massive concern that in almost a decade there's been no change to the salt levels in sausages. The average Aussie eats 44 sausages a year totalling 16 teaspoons of salt," she said.
"Excess salt is directly linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, kidney disease and stroke."
VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter said it was time to rethink what we eat, and called on manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their products.
"Ultimately it shouldn't be left totally up to the consumer to make healthy choices. We want to see manufacturers committing to reformulating their processed meats to have less salt - it can be done," she said.