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Food Safety Focus (162nd Issue, January 2020) – Food Incident Highlight

Japanese Ramen – A High SodiumTrap?

Japanese ramen is a popular dish readily served at restaurants or at home. A recent Japanese study reported that prevalence of ramen restaurants was positively correlated with stroke mortality in Japanese prefectures and cities. Indeed, soy sauce and other condiments rich in salt are often used for preparation of ramen.

High sodium intake contributes to adverse effects like high blood pressure. Our Centre's study revealed that sodium content of ramen ranged from around 2000- 4000mg per bowl. About half of the sodium content came from the soup. Consuming one bowl of noodles with soup could lead to sodium intake exceeding the World Health Organization's recommended maximum daily intake of sodium (i.e. 2000mg/day).

The trade can reduce the sodium content by product reformulation and choosing low salt ingredients. The public is advised to consume the noodles as soon as possible to avoid them soaking too much soup and try not to consume soup.