Six Major Food Companies Join National Salt Reduction Initiative

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has announced that six leading food companies have joined the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a national effort spearheaded by New York City to reduce sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over five years.

Hostess, Butterball, Snyder's of Hanover, Premio Foods, Furmano's, and Delhaize America will join sixteen other food companies, including Fresh Direct, Goya, Heinz, Kraft, Starbucks, Subway, and Unilever, to cut salt in their products as part of the effort. The initiative, which has received support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation, the National Association of County & City Health Office, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, now includes thirty-two local and state health departments and twenty-five additional partners.

To guide the reductions, NSRI has developed specific targets across sixty-two categories of packaged food and twenty-five categories of restaurant food. When a company joins the initiative, it pledges that the overall salt level of its products in a given category will meet the relevant target, even if some individual products in that category do not. For example, a company selling three equally popular lines of crackers would be able to keep one salty as long as its overall cracker sales meet the NSRI target.

"Reducing salt intake has been a public health priority for decades," said New York City health commissioner Thomas Farley. "The national initiative that New York City spearheaded has begun the work to achieve this goal, and we're pleased to see the partnership expand and grow. Thanks to these food manufacturers and the NSRI's fifty-plus partners, the initiative truly has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year that otherwise would be lost to cardiovascular disease."

"Health Department Announces New Company Commitments to the National Salt Reduction Initiative." New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Press Release 11/23/2010.