New York City is leading U.S. cities, states and national organizations making a commitment to the National Salt Reduction Initiative.
Spurred by the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC restaurants and packaged food purveyors are signing up to reduce sodium in food by 20 percent over the next five years.
Concerned by medical research that indicates salt's role in increasing blood pressure and thus the odds of a stroke or heart attack, the public-private partnership with the American Heart Association has garnered a groundswell of support in area restaurants and businesses.
New York eateries now cutting back on salt include Au Bon Pain, Starbucks, Subway, and Uno Chicago Grill. To be sure, it will be easier for some restaurants than others. Fresh Direct, the popular NYC grocery delivery service which also offers prepared foods, also announced it's on board.
Packaged food companies making early commitments include Boar's Head, Goya Foods, Hain Celestial, Heinz, Kraft Foods, LiDestri Foods Inc., Mars Food US, McCain Foods, Red Gold Inc., Unilever, and White Rose.
The overall goal of the initiative is to reduce salt in 15 restaurant category dishes and 49 packaged foods categories.
"Reducing salt intake has been a public health priority for decades," Dr. Thomas Farley, New York's health commissioner, told Food Safety News.
“We can now say we are taking the first steps to achieve it."