NYC mayor: Progress in initiative to reduce salt

NEW YORK — New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday 21 companies have hit their targets in a city-led effort to curb salt. Restaurants, as well as food manufacturers, were named as some of the companies to achieve their goals.

Amaericans, on average, eat about twice as much salt as the suggested daily allowance. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health-related problems.

The improved products range from Butterball cold cuts to Heinz ketchup to some Starbucks breakfast sandwiches. Other participants included FreshDirect, the online-order grocery and prepared food maker, and Kraft Foods, maker of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Planters peanuts and Velveeta cheese.

"These companies have demonstrated their commitment to removing excess sodium from their products and to working with public health authorities toward a shared goal — helping their customers lead longer, healthier lives," Bloomberg said.

The reductions included cutting salt in breakfast cereals and flavored snack chips by 40%, and trimming 25% of the salt in cold cuts, processed cheese and salsa. The goal was to cut salt levels in food by a quarter overall by 2014.

"Consumers can always add salt to food, but they can't take it out," added New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

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