"The Salt Nazi's Have arrived,You will obey or No More Salt on your Fish And Chips !"
They have spent £2,000 (about $4000)) on free salt shakers .
Officials claim that cutting the number of holes from the traditional 17 to just five reduces by up to 60 per cent the amount of salt shaken onto a fish supper.
'According to a spokesman: 'Research carried out by us discovered customers were often receiving huge quantities of salt with their fish and chips - up to half their daily allowance.
They carried out 15 days of research, obtaining samples of fish and chips, measuring salt content and conducting experiments 'to determine how the problem of excessive salt being dispensed could be overcome by design' while still ensuring a 'visibly attractive sprinkle'.
The council was so disturbed it decided to commission a manufacturer to produce a salt shaker with fewer holes, which it distributed free to every fish and chip shop and hot food takeaway in Gateshead. We believe the cost to be a small price to pay for potentially saving lives.'
The Government yesterday announced what it described as a 'comprehensive shakeup' of local government priorities for the next three years.
At least one council has decided to take the guidance literally. Officials in Gateshead have been touring chip shops confiscating salt shakers with more than five holes in them.
They have spent £2,000 on replacements, which are being given away free.
Middlesborough council have issued fish & chip shops 5 hole salt shakers instead of the normal 17 holed ones to try and get people to use less salt on their meals
What they haven't factored in is the ingenuity of chip shop customers, who will sprinkle on however much salt they fancy. Fewer holes simply means they shake for longer.
In some cases, chippie owners report punters unscrewing the caps of the shakers to save time, smothering their food with salt.
People will always find a way of beating the system. But even that's not the point.
It's none of the council's damn business <cite>how much </cite>salt people choose to consume.
If the taxpayers of Gateshead wish to sit around eating salt by the tubload until their arteries resemble a Siberian mineshaft, that's entirely a matter for them.