UK own-label products marketed as "free from" gluten, wheat or dairy contain more salt than conventional lines, according to data published today (24 September).

A survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) claimed that over half of the free-from products analysed contained higher levels of salt. Under a third of the 71 lines tested contained less salt.

"Many people in the UK suffer from food allergies such as coeliac disease. Sufferers are unable to tolerate gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Many other people also follow a wheat or dairy free diet through choice as they feel that they are intolerant to these ingredients," said CASH campaign manager Katharine Jenner. "But we don't think they should be risking their health further by consuming high-salt, free-from products."

Jenner added that the presence of free-from products in the survey with lower levels of salt proved there was "no technical reason" for other lines to contain more salt than conventional SKUs.

Among the ten free-from products with the highest levels of salt per 100g were chocolate chip cookies from Morrisons. The cookies had 1.5g of salt per 100g, according to the CASH survey.

A Morrisons spokesperson said each cookie contained 0.3g of salt and contributed to 5% of an adult's GDA for salt.

However, the spokesperson admitted: "This product is currently undergoing development and reformulation and so new versions - with less salt - will be introduced to our shelves soon."

The spokesperson added: "We are constantly reducing the salt content of all Morrisons own brand products and continue to do so in order to meet the Food Standards Agency's targets in 2010."