The George Institute For Global Health
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Call for high salt warning on Angry Beef Burger

Media release: 
29/11/2009

New beef burger from Hungry Jack’s contains alarming levels of salt. The new Hungry Jack’s Double Angry Angus Burger contains 5.6g of salt - nearly one and a half times the recommended daily amount for adults.

Salt is a primary cause of high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of death across the world. According to experts, it’s the hidden salt in many of our every day foods that causes this serious health risk. With the average Australian eating out four times each week, the fast food industry has a responsibility to provide healthier menu items.

Besides dangerously high levels of salt, Hungry Jack’s Double Angry Angus Burger also provides 3532 kJ and 26g of saturated fat. Hungry Jack’s was the focus of controversy in late 2008 following the limited release of their Quad Burger containing four beef patties, four slices of cheese and two rashers of bacon - providing over 70g of fat and 4520kJ.

Previous research from The George Institute showed that until now, the worst burger menu items have provided up to 25g of saturated fat and 4.1g of salt. McDonald’s Mighty Angus Burger also provides high levels of salt, but is lower than the Hungry Jack’s version, with 3.4g salt per serving.

"Three quarters of burger products from leading fast food chains in Australia provide more than half the recommended daily amount of salt in one hit. Products such as the Angry Angus Burger should carry a high salt warning", said Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director at The George Institute and Chair of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH). The salt in burger products comes from the bread, bacon, cheese and sauces.

"A number of fast food companies in Australia have been reducing salt levels and these companies are to be commended. However the launch of products such as Hungry Jack’s Double Angry Burger, seriously undermines the industry’s efforts so far", he said. "Hungry Jack’s appears to have little commitment to the health of their consumers. In the context of our national obesity crisis this type of product is reckless", he added.

The National Preventative Health Taskforce opposes promotion of foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt and recommends setting salt content targets as a strategy to improve the health of Australians. In Finland, foods that contain high levels of salt must, by law, display a high salt warning on the front of the pack. With food labelling in Australia currently a hot topic, products such as Hungry Jack’s Angry Angus highlight the need for government to establish maximum salt targets for processed foods and consider introducing high salt warnings for foods with high levels of salt.

Notes

  • This press release has been issued by the AWASH Secretariat, which coordinates the day-to-day activities of AWASH and takes final responsibility for all outputs from AWASH. The Secretariat is informed by an Advisory Group which comprises a larger set of individuals with expertise in a range of different areas pertinent to the activities of AWASH.
  • Nutrition values for burgers were obtained from company websites. Serving sizes were as per company websites.
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia has set a Suggested Dietary Target of 1600mg sodium (4g salt) for overall health. Salt is listed on food labels as sodium. To convert grams of sodium into grams of salt, you have to multiply by 2.5.