Some of TV chef Delia Smith's latest recipes have come under fire today for containing more salt in one meal than is recommended for a whole day.

Too much salt is bad for people's health and the government recommends adults should eat no more than 6g a day.

Ms Smith's latest television series and cookery book, How to Cheat at Cooking, advises people how to cook a number of dishes using ready-made foods rather than completely from scratch.

An analysis of the recipes by Consenus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) highlights a number with high levels of salt.

Carbonara real quick for two people contains 14g of salt, not including the salt added to the pasta when cooking and the extra salt added to the sauce during preparation.

And people would eat their entire recommended portion of salt for one day after a portion of Thick pea and bacon soup, which has about 12g of salt for a two-person portion.

Ms Smith's Grilled polenta with sage, ham and Gruyere cheese is intended to serve two as a snack or four as a starter.

With almost 9g salt, that is over 4g of salt per person for the snack option – two-thirds of an adult's recommended daily salt allowance - or over 2g for the starter.

Cash chairman Professor Graham MacGregor said that it seems "as if these latest recipes have not been checked for their salt content".

"The majority of our food industry is making huge efforts to reduce the amount of salt they add to food and the public is becoming much more aware that eating too much salt has severe health implications," he added.

"Unfortunately, this hard work is undermined when chefs and cookery writers appear on television using high salt ingredients and adding large amounts of unnecessary salt to their recipes."

Professor MacGregor said about 19,000 deaths from stroke and heart attacks could be prevented in the UK each year if adults reduced their salt intake from the current average of 9g a day to 6g.

Cash nutritionist Carrie Bolt commented: "If people do want to cook one of Delia's Cheat recipes – and they are not all high in salt – then I would advise them to try the ones that do not feature high salt ingredients such as anchovies, olives, capers, stock, Parma ham, ready-cooked bacon, Thai fish sauce, soy sauce, blue cheese, and Pecorino Romano cheese.

"And there is certainly no need to add any extra salt during cooking."

07/04/2008 10:52:41