SYDNEY, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Australians eat 1.1 billion sausages a year but that amount, which contains 1,500 tons of salt in total, is posing a major health risk, according to latest research released on Wednesday.
A single serving of sausage, popularly barbecued and eaten in Australia with white bread and tomato sauce, can make up nearly half of the recommended daily salt intake, The George Institute for Global Health medical research group said in a statement.
Other salty foods such as bacon and sliced meats have reduced their salt content over the years but sausages have not, the research by Australia's Victoria state health authorities and Heart Foundation showed.
"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," Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong was quoted as saying.
"And some sausages are three times saltier than others. We need targets to drive manufacturers to make their sausages less salty and improve the health of the population.
"Excess salt is directly linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, kidney disease and stroke."
Between 2014 to 2015, close to 6 million Australians aged 18 years and over had high blood pressure, according to foundation figures. Of those, more than two-thirds had uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure (not taking medication), representing 4 million adult Australians.
The institute suggested using lean meats or vegetables instead of sausages for the iconic Aussie barbecue pastime.