A MOVE to make health warning labels on menus and packaging compulsory for Chinese ready meals and takeaways, would be a ‘step in the right direction’.

That is according to Hyndburn’s health chief Cllr Munsif Dad after it emerged the saltiest Chinese takeaways contain as much salt as five Big Macs.

Supermarket Chinese ready meals were also high in salt with some containing more than the amount found in two Pizza Express margherita pizzas.

The findings were revealed in a survey by Action on Salt, who analysed more than 150 dishes and found some contained half an adult’s recommended 6g (0.2oz) daily allowance of salt.

Now the campaign group have called for Chinese meals to carry a front of pack health warning on packaging and menus.

Chinese takeaways are the most popular, with 22 million takeaways eaten by UK adults each week.

Cllr Dad, cabinet portfolio holder for health and communities at Hyndburn Council, said: “This would definitely be a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s important that the consumers knows what they’re eating in terms of salt.

“Some people are ignorant if this isn’t highlighted to them and the consumer needs to be given that choice and hopefully it will raise awareness.

“I would definitely advocate having less salt in foods and any calls for front of pack labelling to be mandatory.

“It could in the long-term reduce pressure on A&E through less obesity and heart disease, cancer and strokes.”

Sonia Pombo, campaign manager at Action on Salt said they were asking everyone, including the food industry, to ‘think first and use less salt.’

She said: “Our data shows that food can be easily reformulated with lower levels of salt, so why haven’t all companies acted responsibly?

“The lack of front-of-pack colour coded labelling on branded products makes it incredibly difficult for consumers to make healthier choices and that is simply unacceptable.

“This week, as part of Salt Awareness Week, we are asking everyone, including the food industry, to think first and use less salt.”

The group have also called on on Public Health England (PHE) to ‘get tough’ on setting new salt targets.

But Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, said salt consumption has ‘decreased over the last decade.’

“A loaf of bread has forty per cent less than it used to,” she said.

“However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.

“We’ve been very clear with the food industry on the importance of meeting the 2017 salt targets.

“We’ll report on their progress this year and on any necessary advice to government on the next steps.”

When it comes to ready meals, the saltiest Chinese dish was Slimming World’s Chinese style nanquet rice with 4.40g salt per 550g pack.

Next in line was Marks & Spencer Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Banquet with 4.13g salt per 500g pack, providing over two thirds of an adult’s maximum daily intake.