Members of the public have been asked to remain ‘extra vigilant’ after a Southend News Network investigation caught TEN cafés in Southend adding the chemical SODIUM CHLORIDE to portions of chips and other hot cooked food.

A spokesperson for Southend Borough Council has promised that there will be a thorough investigation after we handed our findings over to their Health and Hygiene Department on Sunday evening – the names of the premises involved will remain a secret as a legal investigation is now underway.

On Sunday morning, undercover teams from Southend News Network visited ten cafés located all over Southend town centre and the seafront after receiving a number of tip-offs from members of the public. As part of our carefully-planned strategy, we asked all members of catering staff to make sure that our meals were ‘seasoned well,’ and then a small sample was taken from every dish and sealed in an airtight and sterile container.

These samples were then transported to our food technology laboratory in Rochford for immediate testing, and after a few minutes our team learned the horrifying truth that every sample tested POSITIVE for the chemical compound sodium chloride, or NaCl as it is known scientifically.

In a further shocking development, three of the soft drink samples that were taken away for testing were found to be mainly made up of hydrogen dioxide and other ingredients to a lesser extent.

Norris Snell is an Environmental Hygiene officer at Southend Borough Council, and he spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Southend News Network when we handed our report over to him this evening.

He said: ‘We are incredibly grateful to Southend News Network for their hard work in carrying out this investigation, and we will be following up every single piece of information as a matter of extreme urgency. We are not in a position to give out any further details about the establishments that are involved as there is now a legal process underway.’

‘At the present time, all that we can confirm is that the samples were taken from a range of premises with 3-star, 4-star and 5-star ratings on their most recent hygiene inspections.’