Cutting salt content to make foods healthier does not increase the risk of spoilage by bacteria, scientists said today.
Scientists from the University of Limerick in Ireland assessed safety levels of reduced salt foods by studying the behaviour of different strains of food spoilage bacteria.
The link between high salt consumption and heart disease has led to food manufacturers lowering salt levels in their products, eliciting concern in some quarters due to the well-known preservative properties of the mineral.
Researcher Edel Durack said: "At the moment our results are helping processors reduce salt levels in frozen ready-to-eat meals. Generally these meals carry a large percentage of the recommended daily allowance of salt.
"This type of food is becoming increasingly popular and is in high demand due to its convenience and time restrictions placed on consumers due to modern day lifestyles.
She added: "Hopefully our study will lead to the development of a new range of low salt foods that will help people to reduce salt levels in their diet, reducing their risk of cardiovascular diseases linked to excess sodium, without compromising product safety."