The observational study, published in the British Medical Journal, found policy makers who ate in their work canteen were consuming around 15.4 grams of salt a day –with many consuming more than the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 6 grams in one hot meal.
The authors – led by Dr Lizzy Brewster at the University of Amsterdam – warned that this amount of salt translates to up to a 36% increase in premature death.
"Our data indicate that even salt policy makers cannot adhere to a low salt diet if they consume the hot lunch at work,” said the authors.
The research team said that they focused on policy makers because they assumed they would have a high awareness of the risk of high salt intake.
Brewster and her colleagues surveyed employees about how often they ate hot lunch at their canteens, finding that 63% ate both a hot meal at work and another hot meal for dinner at home.
They estimated that these 63% would be consuming around 15.4 grams of salt daily - 9.4 grams higher than the RDI.