Project launched to cut 'hidden' salt in foods

March 12, 2014
Project launched to cut ´hidden´ salt in foods
Credit: ThinkStock

Current research shows reducing our current salt intake to six grams per day could prevent nearly six per cent of strokes. But the onus is as much on food manufacturers, as well as consumers, to be less heavy-handed with the salt. And that is precisely what the PROCURED project seeks to achieve.

Launched on 23 January in Parma, the initiative aims to cut the amount of salt in the production of dry-cured meats, such as prosciutto, lardo, bresaola, capicola, guanciale and soppressata. The opposite of fast food, these meats are invariably high in salt because of the way that they are produced. Salt is used to prevent bacteria proliferation, as it leaves very low levels of water in the meat after being absorbed.

Dry-cured meats are still regarded by consumer as wholesome and traditional. And while salt curing is needed, it is widely acknowledged that dry-cured ham processors need improved technology to control the salting treatment of their products.

Cutting salt content in such products can be a 'win-win' - not only is it healthier but it also guarantees the expected final quality, something that is vital if European manufacturers are to remain competitive in a global market.

The `PROCURED` project aims to develop and implement a new system of controlling the salting stage during dry-cured ham processing. A member of the scheme explains, 'The proposed solution relies on in-line modules, based on a fast and non-invasive technology, which measures the ham traits related to salt uptake and the absorbed salt amount during salting.'

The system is equipped with 'Artificial Neural Networks' software, which is trained to provide salting parameters according to raw ham properties and target . A pre-commercial system will be made available to companies at the end of the project.

The consortium includes dry-cured processors (GALLONI, CENT), appointed for validation of the technology, and SMEs in the meat processing industry (LENZ, ROSER, STEVIA, STRASSER). Scientific support is provided by RTDs (ATEKNEA, IRTA, SSICA). In time, it is hoped the project will make 'PROCURED' ham a distinctive option compared to its competitors.

PROCURED's objectives are also in compliance with the EU Regulation 1924/2006, a legislative measure which relates to nutrition and the health claims made on foods, including those which claim to contain 'reduced salt'.

The message for consumers? If you want to cut the levels of hidden inside your weekly shopping basket look out soon for 'ProCured' ham on the supermarket shelves.

Explore further: Less salt in our food

Related Stories

Less salt in our food

June 3, 2013
It is entirely possible to reduce the salt content in a range of foods by up to 30% without reducing the taste.

Nestle to speed up salt reductions in food brands

November 4, 2013
The world's biggest food and drink company is pledging to speed up making hundreds of products with less salt to honor new U.N. dietary guidelines.

Bread, cereal drive UK children's high salt diet

March 10, 2014
Children in London eat an unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis—with much of it coming from breads and cereals, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Less salt, sugar and fat, same pleasure

August 19, 2013
Researchers strive to drastically reduce the proportion of salt, sugar and fat, considered as factors of health risk in food. But keeping sensory and nutritional properties of foods intact is not so easy.

Wide variation in bacon salt levels

September 13, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—New research from Queen Mary, University of London, has revealed huge variation in the salt levels found in supermarket bacon, with some products containing more than half the daily recommendation of salt ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.