Last month it was bread and now it is the turn of cakes, muffins and scones to be criticised for their salt content.

However, the latest criticism of baked goods has been blasted as "unnecessary" and "disproportionate" by National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) chairman Mike Holling.

He was speaking out as a study by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) found around 85% of popular coffee-break products contain as much salt as they did this time last year.

CASH said that a McDonald’s muffin, marketed as a healthier option, contained more salt than one of its burgers. The fast-food chain’s low-fat blueberry muffin has 1.7g of salt more than the amount in three packets of ready-salted crisps.

Holling, retail operations director of Birds of Derby, said: "It seems they are moving from one bakery product [bread] to another. And this time it is cakes, muffins and the like that are being targeted. I understand the arguments on salt, but I would ask CASH to work with the industry, rather than against it. We have engaged with the Food Standards Agency and CASH on the salt levels in bread and would do so again."

Holling added that, with the fragile state of the economy, such health warnings were unhelpful. But Professor Graham MacGregor, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said: "Manufacturers need to stop hiding salt in their products. High levels of salt in our food puts up our blood pressure, leading to strokes and heart attacks."

CASH nutritionist Kay Dilley said it was difficult for people to know how much salt was in a coffee-shop muffin or biscuit. "Without clear labelling we still have no idea how much salt we are eating in our coffee break," she said.