Typical British picnic baskets can be laden with "huge" amounts of salt and saturated fat, health campaigners have warned.

One in four savoury picnic foods available to buy in the supermarket were found to be dangerously high in salt.

And almost one in three have no colour-coded front-of-pack labelling, making it difficult for consumers to make healthy choices, Action on Salt (AoS) said.

The group is calling for immediate, compulsory nutritional labelling on all picnic savouries after a survey found a typical picnic could contain 5g of salt.

Around 555 savoury picnic foods available from retailers were analysed by researchers based at Queen Mary University of London.

Though it was not surprising that olives were salty, Aldi’s Specially Selected Hand Stuffed Halkidiki Olives (150g) were found to contain 5g of salt per 100g – double the salt concentration of seawater.

An adult’s suggested portion of the olives contained a third of the recommended limit of 6g a day, or a level teaspoon.

Meanwhile a Ginsters Cornish Pasty (272g) contained 2.99g of salt per portion, while Aldi’s Eat & Go Sausages & Ketchup contained 2.2g per portion – as much salt as four and a half bags of ready salted crisps.

Plant-based eaters didn’t fare any better, with Fry’s Spicy Three Bean Pasty found to contain 1.8g per portion, the same amount as a McDonald’s hamburger and fries.

The vegan brand also had the saltiest sausage roll at 1.8g salt per 100g.

Scotch egg lovers can rejoice, as the picnic-favourite was among the lowest salt categories with an average salt content of 0.76g per 100g, along with quiche at 0.54g per 100g.

However almost half of the products surveyed were worryingly high in saturated fat.

Morrisons Cheese & Onion Slices (330g) contain 17.7g of saturated fat per portion, almost meeting a woman’s recommended daily limit.

While Asda’s Extra Special Maple Cured Smoked Bacon Quiche Lorraine with Butter Enriched Shortcrust Pastry (410g) contained 11g of saturated fat per 100g or 14g per portion – the equivalent to around five McDonald’s hamburgers.

Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of AoS, said: Due to inaction by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England in enforcing the 2017 salt reduction targets, the public are still eating more salt than recommended which is leading to thousands dying or suffering from entirely unnecessary strokes and heart disease.

He said that reducing salt is one of the most cost-effective measures to protect health.

He added: The time has come for the Secretary of State for Health to resuscitate the UK’s salt reduction programme, helping us to, once again, be world leading rather than trailing behind the rest of the world. The public’s health has suffered long enough.

(c) Sky News 2019: Typical picnic basket contains ‘huge amount of salt’, campaigners warn