Tag Archives: Found

Through my cancer, I have found the key to a good life | George Monbiot

If I could turn back the clock, magically deleting my prostate cancer, the surgery I needed and its complications, would I do so? It seems an odd question. But I find it surprisingly hard to answer.

It wasn’t a lot of fun. I stopped breathing in the recovery room, which felt as if I were drowning. I hated being catheterised. The painkillers I took locked up my bowels, forcing me to excavate them by hand, as straining could have torn the delicate stitching above them. I succumbed to a post-operative infection that kept me awake for seven nights. Just as the infection passed, the muscles around the operation site went into spasm, causing such pain that I found myself curled up on the floor, nails hooked into the carpet. After three days of this, I was rushed to hospital unable to pee, as everything had clamped shut. Having another catheter inserted, three weeks after the first one had been removed, felt like a miserable regression.

But I feel I have learned more about myself and the world around me over the past two months than over the preceding 20 years. The first revelation was the astonishing power of human kindness. The team that treated me, at the Churchill hospital in Oxford, made me feel I was part, however briefly, of a vast but close family. The consideration of the doctors and nurses, who managed to create the impression that they had all the time in the world, even as they were rushed off their feet; the instant responses of the ward and the triage team whenever I ran into trouble after I was discharged; the regular phone calls the surgeon made to see how I was coping: this was more than just professionalism. It felt like care in every sense. I am convinced, in the light of my research for the album about loneliness that I made with the musician Ewan McLennan, that this attention was crucial to my recovery.

At home, I came to think of my bed as an oxytocin tent. The hugs my family gave me seemed to relieve both pain and the symptoms of fever faster than any of the drugs I took: the analgesic effect of physical contact, now widely documented, has not been exaggerated. And I drew courage from the thousands of wonderful messages I received. Thank you.

With this help, I discovered unimagined strengths. You can make resolutions that seem plausible – until they are fully tested. In the article I wrote two months ago, before my surgery, I mentioned the three principles that, I felt, were essential to happiness: imagine how much worse it could be, rather than how much better; change what you can change, accept what you can’t; and do not let fear rule your life.


The muscles round the operation site caused such pain I found myself curled up on the floor, nails hooked into the carpet

So did they work, or did I abandon them and freak out? They held up remarkably well. By reciting them to myself every day – before the operation, in its aftermath, during the complications and as the test results loomed – I never wavered, never fell prey to fear or anxiety. Knowing that I was in the best possible hands, I accepted what every day brought without worrying about what might happen on the next.

I felt not only that those three principles had been vindicated, but that they could be assimilated into a broader rule, namely: the state of being for which we should strive is to be attached to life without being possessive of it. We should seek to love our lives and live fully, but not to extend them indefinitely. We should love our children exuberantly, but not cling to them or curtail their freedoms. We should treasure the material world without seeking to own and control it.

The doctrines informing us that virtue and purity, or the states of jnana or sunyata, can be achieved, in some interpretations, by detachment from the physical senses and the material world hold little appeal for me, whether classical, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist. A large body of literature suggests that wellbeing is intimately linked to attachment – not only to other people, but also to the natural world. As Jeremy Lent argues in his life-changing book The Patterning Instinct, the association of the tangible world with corruption, pollution and obstacles to enlightenment has informed our disdain for nature and accelerated its destruction, with devastating effects on our happiness.

But while attachment seems vital – in both senses of this word – liberating myself from the urge to possess has proved an astonishing antidote to fear and tension. I resolved to enjoy whatever life I had, and not to regret its loss if it seemed to be drawing to an end. The strength this brought me will enhance as many years as remain.

As it happens, I have been astonishingly lucky. That spasming appears to have been the short-term pain that presaged long-term gain. My wonderful surgeon, Alastair Lamb, applying recent research, used a technique that involves preserving more of the urethra. It feels like a breakthrough. One possible side-effect of this procedure is the hypercontinence I suffered. As soon as the second catheter was removed, this relaxed into normal continence, a result I had not expected for a long time, if ever. Until recently, such an outcome would have been unthinkable.

Similarly, albeit with the help of the blue pill, I have regained full erections. While I can no longer ejaculate, as seminal fluid is produced by the prostate, orgasms feel just as they did before. (Forgive me if I’m oversharing. Our health – men’s health in particular – has been blighted by undersharing.) Again, this recovery seems remarkably fast. After my last article, several well-wishers told me: “I’ll be rooting for you.” Thank you, but it is no longer necessary.

Most importantly, my test results suggest the operation has been successful. I’ve been given a 90% chance that the cancer will not return in the next five years. I feel I’ve been granted another life.

The quest now is to ensure that other men are as lucky as I have been. Above all, this means developing better diagnostic tests, to ensure that prostate cancer is caught early, as mine was. An analysis published in March concluded that the standard (PSA) test produces so many false positives and – more dangerously – false negatives that it has “no significant effect on prostate cancer mortality” over the following 10 years. Several promising improvements are being developed, including a cluster of tests called Stockholm3 and the mpMRI scan.

But much more funding is needed to assess and universalise them. The £75m the government promised last month will help, but it’s not enough. The March for Men and other campaigns by groups such as Prostate Cancer UK seek to fill the gap – please support them.

I will not abandon this issue, but I look forward to returning next week to the topics that still frighten me. The argumentative old git is back.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.

“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. Thompson, who is based in an FDA regional laboratory in Arkansas, wrote that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free.

That internal FDA email, dated January 2017, is part of a string of FDA communications that detail agency efforts to ascertain how much of the popular weedkiller is showing up in American food. The tests mark the agency’s first-ever such examination.

“People care about what contaminants are in their food. If there is scientific information about these residues in the food, the FDA should release it,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”

The FDA is charged with annually testing food samples for pesticide residues to monitor for illegally high residue levels. The fact that the agency only recently started testing for glyphosate, a chemical that has been used for over 40 years in food production, has led to criticism from consumer groups and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Calls for testing grew after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand weedkiller.


Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand weedkiller. Photograph: Rene van den Berg/Alamy Stock Photo

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup brand. More than 200m pounds are used annually by US farmers on their fields. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over some crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers.

Thompson’s detection of glyphosate was made as he was validating his analytical methods, meaning those residues will probably not be included in any official report.

Separately, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA email states. The legal limit is 5.0 ppm. An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an “official sample”.

When asked about the emails and the agency’s testing, an FDA spokesman said only that the FDA had not found any illegal levels in corn, soy, milk or eggs, the four commodities it considers part of its glyphosate “special assignment”. He did not address the unofficial findings revealed in the emails.

The FDA’s official findings should be released later this year or early in 2019 as part of its 2016 annual residue report. The reports typically are released two to two and a half years after the data is collected.

Along with glyphosate, the agency has been trying to measure residues of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba because of projected increased use of these weedkillers on new genetically engineered crops. The FDA spokesman said that the agency has “expanded capacity” for testing foods for those herbicides this year.

Other findings detailed in the FDA documents show that in 2016 Chamkasem found glyphosate in numerous samples of honey. Chamkasem also found glyphosate in oatmeal products. The FDA temporarily suspended testing after those findings, and Chamkasem’s lab was “reassigned to other programs”, the FDA documents show. The FDA has said those tests were not part of its official glyphosate residue assignment.

Pesticide exposure through diet is considered a potential health risk. Regulators, Monsanto and agrochemical industry interests say pesticide residues in food are not harmful if they are under legal limits. But many scientists dispute that, saying prolonged dietary exposure to combinations of pesticides can be harmful.

Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who is director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), said that current regulatory analysis of pesticide dangers does not account for low levels of dietary exposures.

“Even with low levels of pesticides, we’re exposed to so many and we don’t count the fact that we have cumulative exposures,” Birnbaum said.

The US Department of Agriculture was to start its own testing of foods for glyphosate residues in 2017 but dropped the plan.

The lack of government residue data comes as Monsanto attempts to bar evidence about glyphosate food residues from being introduced in court where the company is fighting off allegations its Roundup products cause cancer.

In a case set for trial on 18 June, San Francisco superior court judge Curtis Karnow recently denied the company’s motion to keep the jury from hearing about residues in food. The judge said that although Monsanto worries the information “will inflame the jury against Monsanto based on their own fear that they may have been exposed”, such information “should not be excluded”.

Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.

“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. Thompson, who is based in an FDA regional laboratory in Arkansas, wrote that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free.

That internal FDA email, dated January 2017, is part of a string of FDA communications that detail agency efforts to ascertain how much of the popular weedkiller is showing up in American food. The tests mark the agency’s first-ever such examination.

“People care about what contaminants are in their food. If there is scientific information about these residues in the food, the FDA should release it,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”

The FDA is charged with annually testing food samples for pesticide residues to monitor for illegally high residue levels. The fact that the agency only recently started testing for glyphosate, a chemical that has been used for over 40 years in food production, has led to criticism from consumer groups and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Calls for testing grew after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand weedkiller.


Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand weedkiller. Photograph: Rene van den Berg/Alamy Stock Photo

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup brand. More than 200m pounds are used annually by US farmers on their fields. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over some crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers.

Thompson’s detection of glyphosate was made as he was validating his analytical methods, meaning those residues will probably not be included in any official report.

Separately, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA email states. The legal limit is 5.0 ppm. An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an “official sample”.

When asked about the emails and the agency’s testing, an FDA spokesman said only that the FDA had not found any illegal levels in corn, soy, milk or eggs, the four commodities it considers part of its glyphosate “special assignment”. He did not address the unofficial findings revealed in the emails.

The FDA’s official findings should be released later this year or early in 2019 as part of its 2016 annual residue report. The reports typically are released two to two and a half years after the data is collected.

Along with glyphosate, the agency has been trying to measure residues of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba because of projected increased use of these weedkillers on new genetically engineered crops. The FDA spokesman said that the agency has “expanded capacity” for testing foods for those herbicides this year.

Other findings detailed in the FDA documents show that in 2016 Chamkasem found glyphosate in numerous samples of honey. Chamkasem also found glyphosate in oatmeal products. The FDA temporarily suspended testing after those findings, and Chamkasem’s lab was “reassigned to other programs”, the FDA documents show. The FDA has said those tests were not part of its official glyphosate residue assignment.

Pesticide exposure through diet is considered a potential health risk. Regulators, Monsanto and agrochemical industry interests say pesticide residues in food are not harmful if they are under legal limits. But many scientists dispute that, saying prolonged dietary exposure to combinations of pesticides can be harmful.

Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who is director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), said that current regulatory analysis of pesticide dangers does not account for low levels of dietary exposures.

“Even with low levels of pesticides, we’re exposed to so many and we don’t count the fact that we have cumulative exposures,” Birnbaum said.

The US Department of Agriculture was to start its own testing of foods for glyphosate residues in 2017 but dropped the plan.

The lack of government residue data comes as Monsanto attempts to bar evidence about glyphosate food residues from being introduced in court where the company is fighting off allegations its Roundup products cause cancer.

In a case set for trial on 18 June, San Francisco superior court judge Curtis Karnow recently denied the company’s motion to keep the jury from hearing about residues in food. The judge said that although Monsanto worries the information “will inflame the jury against Monsanto based on their own fear that they may have been exposed”, such information “should not be excluded”.

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Some Chinese ready meals found to have more salt than 11 bags of crisps

Chinese takeaways and ready meals should carry compulsory health warning labels on menus and packaging to alert consumers to “astonishing and harmful” salt levels, UK health experts have recommended.

The worst-offending Chinese takeaway dishes in a survey published on Tuesday by Action on Salt were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs, while many had more than half an adult’s entire daily allowance.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also laden with salt, with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas, the report reveals. Some rice dishes contained more salt than 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Action on Salt is leading a group of health experts in calling on Public Health England to set tough new salt targets, make front-of-pack labelling mandatory and to follow New York’s lead by requiring chains to put warning labels on high-salt dishes. They are also urging the food industry and restaurants to reduce salt by reformulating takeaways and ready meals.

Of 141 supermarket Chinese ready meals analysed, nearly half (43%) were high in salt – containing more than 1.5g/100g, or 1.8g per portion – which would trigger a red “traffic light” label.

Chines food graphic.

“Salt is the forgotten killer as it puts up our blood pressure, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary strokes, heart failure and heart attacks every year,” said Graham MacGregor, the chairman of Action on Salt and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to reduce the number of people dying or suffering from strokes or heart disease. We are now calling on Public Health England to take immediate action.”

Accompanying rice dishes, spring rolls and prawn crackers – and soy sauce – can pile on the salt in a Chinese meal. Iceland’s takeaway egg fried rice has a “shocking” 4.1g salt per 350g pack – more than in 11 bags of ready salted crisps.

Dishes from six Chinese restaurants were also analysed, with 97% found to contain 2g of salt or more. More than half (58%) contained in excess of 3g of salt per dish – half an adult’s maximum recommended daily intake.

At the start of salt awareness week, Action on Salt is calling on Public Health England to revive the UK’s salt reduction programme. The last set of salt targets drawn up under the Department of Health’s responsibility deal was published in 2014.

“The findings from the survey are very concerning,” said Hemini Bharadia of Blood Pressure UK. “We are all eating too much salt. This can lead to high blood pressure causing strokes and heart attacks, most of which could be avoided through better lifestyle choices.”

Quick guide

Processed foods

These are some of the UK’s best-selling ultra-processed foods

Mr Kipling Angel slices

Batchelors Super Noodles

McVitie’s digestive biscuits

Kelloggs Rice Krispies

Walkers cheese and onion crisps

Cadbury’s Crunchie

Haribo sweets

These are the ingredients in Mr Kipling Angel slices

Sugar Listed first, so it is the biggest ingredient. Each slice contains 13.2g of sugar, which is 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm) Rapeseed oil is healthy, but palm oil is a highly saturated fat, widely used in industrially-produced foods because of its very low cost

Wheat flour (with added calcium, iron, niacin, thiamin) Added vitamins but this is finely milled white flour

Water

Glucose syrup Another form of sugar, made from maize in the USA, where it is called corn syrup, or from potatoes and wheat

Humectant (vegetable glycerine) Reduces moisture loss

Dextrose Another form of sugar

Dried egg white

Whey powder (milk) Gives texture

Vegetable fat (palm) Cheap form of saturated fat

Maize starch Often used as an anti-caking agent in sugars

Skimmed milk powder

Raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium bicarbonate)

Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sorbitan monostearate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, soya lecithin, polysorbate 60) Emulsifiers are additives used to stabilise processed foods

Tapioca starch Thickening agent derived from cassava roots

Salt

Stabiliser (xanthan gum) Made from fermented sugars. Prevents ingredients from separating

Preservative (potassium sorbate)

Milk protein Can be used in industrially-made sponge cakes to replace egg, giving volume, elasticity and texture

Flavourings

Gelling agent (sodium alginate) This is E401, extracted from brown seaweed and used as a stabiliser in cream

Colours (titanium dioxide, cochineal, lutein) Titanium dioxide is an additive used in paint but also massively in food to give a white colour. Cochineal is the red colouring derived from insects. Lutein is yellow colouring extracted from marigolds

Acid (acetic acid) A leavening ingredient in baked goods when combined with baking soda

Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”