Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who tried to make over America’s eating habits on “Food Revolution and who has been dubbed a “healthy food revolutionary,” was called out by a consumer group for serving heavily-salted dishes at his U.K. restaurant.The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) looked at 667 main meals served at 29 restaurants, fast food outlets, and cafes in the U.K. It singled out big-name chefs, including Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay.
But Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian was the study’s biggest offender with its game meatball. The sampled dish contained nearly one and half times the daily maximum recommendation for salt, according to CASH.
On average, Jamie’s Italian had the highest level of salt of any restaurants in their three tested dishes, CASH said.
A day after it released the results of the study, however, CASH came out with a follow-up statement saying it had met with Oliver’s representatives and that “our result was unusual compared to the regular testing by Jamie’s own team.”
The outspoken “health-conscious” chef told CASH he employs three full-time nutritionists who test food across all of his businesses.
But it’s not the first time the salt content in Oliver’s food has come under fire. In November of 2009, a study was released that said one portion of Oliver’s olive and garlic sauce contained the salt equivalent of 10 bags of chips.
And in 2011, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said his cookbook was one of the five “worst” of the year after finding that one serving of his meatball sandwich contained more fat than a Big Mac and more than double the calories, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat.
Of course, it’s not surprising that celebrity chefs were the worst offenders on CASH’s list of restaurants with a heavy hand on the salt shaker — it’s proven to make food taste better.
And that may not be a bad thing, as recent studies have found that reduced salt diets may not have a significant health benefit after all.
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