• The South African government is reducing the salt limit allowed in processed meat. 
  • This is in line with the state's intention to reduce salt consumption to improve public health. 
  • The cuts were originally intended for this year, but have now been postponed to next year.
  • Business Insider looked at the sodium content of current popular processed meats. 
  • For more, go to Business Insider SA.

The maximum amount of salt allowed in processed meat will have to be sharply reduced next year.  

Under the regulations, published by the department of health in the government gazette on Friday, sodium in polony and viennas (so-called category 1,4 and 5 processed meat) may not exceed 1,150mg per 100g. 

Sodium is a key element in salt. The new ceiling is 150g less than the previous 1,300mg ceiling introduced in 2016.  

Sodium in raw-processed meat sausages may not exceed 600mg per 100g, down from 800mg. 

Also read: Twitter's CEO drinks a concoction called 'salt juice' every morning

Sodium in category 2,3 and 5 meats, which are meats which have been heated like like cooked patties and chicken nuggets, may not exceed 650mg per 100g, down from 850mg. 

The new regulations will come into effect by April 2020 - and not this year, as was originally intended.

South Africa first reduced the allowed quantity of salt in processed meat in June 2016, and at the time announced that more cuts would come in June this year.

Also read: A bad diet could cause more deaths than smoking, according to a major new study

While the World Health Organisation recommends that people should not consume more than 5g of salt daily, more than 90% of South Africans consume more than that, a study published in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) found. Even more concerning was that 40% of younger adults had salt intakes of above 9g per day. 

High salt intake has been linked to heart disease, cancer and kidney failure

The report estimated that South Africa’s attempt to reduce salt will decrease deaths relating to heart disease by 11%, and save the state R713 million annually in healthcare costs. 

Business Insider South Africa compared the salt in some popular processed meat products per 100g: 

Woolworths Farmstyle Boerewors - 684mg


Woolworths pork bangers - 684mg


Eskort Smoked Russians - 762mg


Woolworths smoked ham - 832mg 


Pick n Pay Shaved ham - 867mg 


Pick n Pay Liver and Chilli spread - 869mg


Pick n Pay Liver and Bacon spread - 886mg 


Pick n Pay Sliced cooked ham - 935mg 


Eskort French Polony - 1020mg 


Enterprise Smoked Viennas - 1120mg 


Enterprise French Polony - 1151mg 

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