The people hired to control how much salt you eat, are eating too much salt themselves, a new study from the University of Amsterdam finds.

Salt policy makers in the Netherlands are scarfing down more than twice the daily recommended intake of salt at work, the report published in the British Medical Journal showed.

Federal regulators consume 15.4 grams of sodium per day, said Dr. Lizzy Brewster, lead study author and professor at the University of Amsterdam. The daily recommended amount is about 6 grams of sodium.

Brewster and fellow researchers focused on policy makers, figuring they had a better handle on the risks of consuming a lot of salt. Study centered on Department of Health, the Health Council, the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, university and non-university hospital cafeterias.

Hot lunches were randomly gathered from cafeterias on three days. Sodium content of those lunches averaged 7 grams, which is slightly above the total daily-recommended salt intake and was high at all locations.

More than 60 percent of employees reported eating a hot meal for lunch at work and another for dinner at home.

Excess salt intake is estimated to cause 30 percent of all high blood pressure cases. Brewster and fellow researchers said their food choices could mean a nearly 36 percent increase in premature death. Given that, many countries have launched campaigns, promoting less salt consumption.

Based on the salt intake studied, Brewster said the workers are 32 to 36 percent more at risk of death from strokes and 23 to 27 percent more at risk of death from coronary heart disease than those keeping salt intake under control.

“Our data indicates that even salt policy makers cannot adhere to a low salt diet if they consume the hot lunch at work,” Brewster said in a statement. “These data underline the urgency to remove the exemption of nutrition labeling for food products intended solely for use in restaurants and foodservice operations.”

Policy makers eating too much salt isn’t just a problem in the Netherlands. In 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came under fire for trying to impose health regulations like requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts or banning trans fat, despite his unhealthy eating habits – including putting salt on everything from popcorn to pizza.

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