Salt policy makers in the Netherlands are consuming too much salt, which can increase premature death by 36 percent, concludes and observational study.

Lead author Dr Lizzy Brewster at the University of Amsterdam, said that the policy makers were consuming around 15.4 grams of salt a day compared to the average daily 6 grams of recommended salt intake. The study was published on on Wednesday.

“Excess salt intake is estimated to cause 30 percent of all high blood pressure, and many countries have programs to encourage individuals to consume less,” the British Medical Journal said in a news release.

The researchers selected 18 canteens, also known as cafeterias, at the Department of Health, the Health Council, the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, and university and non-university hospitals in the Netherlands.

They collected a typical hot lunch for the staff cafeteria on three random days and found that the average of salt content within the meals was exceeding the total at around 7 grams.

In surveying employees on how often they ate the hot lunch at their staff canteens, the majority, 63 percent, said they ate the hot meal at work and another hot meal for dinner at home.

The researchers said that if 63 percent “ate the high salt content canteen meal and a standard meal in the evening, they would be consuming around 15.4 grams of salt daily,” that’s 9.4 grams higher that the recommended intake.

"If people eat the meals served at the institutions we studied, they run an estimated increase in cardiovascular risk of 32-36 percent more deaths from stroke and 23-27 percent more deaths from coronary heart disease compared with people who adhere to the guidelines," the authors said.

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