NYC Aims to Cut Salt to Size


NEW YORK CITY  — It seems Canadians aren’t the only ones worrying about salt, considering a recent report out of the New York City health department, which proposes a voluntary reduction of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 per cent over five years.

“Consumers can always add salt to food, but they can’t take it out,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, NYC’s health commissioner in a press release. “At current levels, the salt in our diets poses health risks for people with normal blood pressure, and it’s even riskier for the 1.5 million New Yorkers with high-blood pressure. If we can reduce the sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods, we will give consumers more choice about the amount of salt they eat and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke in the process.”

The health department is welcoming comments from industry members until Feb. 1 and plans to adapt final targets for this spring. Specific targets have been made to help companies cut salt in 61 categories of packaged food and 25 classes of restaurant food.

The voluntary call to action is being met with mixed feelings in the industry, where many companies have already begun reducing salt in their food.

Campbell’s is one such company who has begun to reduce sodium in its foods, but doesn’t necessarily back the city’s plan. “Sodium reduction does not always follow a prescribed time or prescribed progress,” Chor-San Khoo, vice-president for Global Nutrition and Health at the soup company, told the The New York Times. “There’s no one size fits all.”

So far, supporters of the city’s plan include Kraft Foods Inc. and Subway, according to the newspaper and Reuters.

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