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Food Safety Focus (140th Issue, March 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

Asian-style Soup Noodles: Half Sodium Came From Soup

The Centre for Food Safety recently reported the sodium content of Asian-style noodles-in-soup dishes commonly available in Hong Kong (e.g. laksa, pho, ramen). In each portion (noodles, other ingredients, and soup) of the 10 types (100 samples) of non-prepackaged dishes, half of the sodium came from soup. Over two-thirds of them contained sodium exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended daily limit (2,000mg sodium), while all samples exceeded one-third of that daily limit (i.e. an approximate limit for one meal). Furthermore, the nutrition label of 10 prepackaged cup/bowl samples revealed that the average sodium content of each portion (1,900mg) was approaching the daily limit.

To reduce sodium intake/ content, consumers could: i) try not to consume the soup; ii) limit the amount of sauce/condiments/seasoning powder added or taste before adding; iii) consume the noodles as soon as possible to avoid them soaking too much soup; and iv) use the nutrition labels to choose prepackaged noodles; traders could: i) make reference to the “Trade Guidelines for Reducing Sodium in Foods” to reform recipe; ii) offer smaller portion dishes; and iii) separate seasoning powder in prepackaged noodles.