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Bloomberg Declares Victory in Battle Against Salt

Twenty-one companies have met the mayor's criteria for reducing sodium content since initiative began in 2010.

 

Three down. One to go!

First it was trans-fatty foods, then smoking, then large-sized sugary drinks. Now Mayor Bloomberg is claiming victory in his first battle in the war against… salt!

As a part of an initiative he launched in 2010 to lower consumers’ blood pressure, Bloomberg announced Monday that 21 companies have met his criteria for reducing salt content in their foods, reports The New York Times.

At least 30 companies, from Kraft and Goya to FreshDirect, had signed up to reduce salt in the foods they manufactured by 25 percent within five years.

Now, in just two years, at least two-thirds of those companies who signed on to the mayor's initiative said they have met the first stage of the requested decrease, with many finding the salt reduction a valuable marketing tool, reported the paper.

“These companies have a huge presence on our shelves and in our diets,” Bloomberg said at a news conference, noting that bread and rolls were the “biggest contributor” to salt in the diet. Eating a muffin, he said, could be worse than eating a small bag of Lays potato chips. 

He suggested companies begin by focusing on foods whose salt content is so high that a reduction would hardly be noticed by consumers, such as bacon, ketchup, cold cuts, processed cheese and salad dressing.

However, Morton Satin, vice president for science and research at the Salt Institute, said that the link between high blood pressure and salt was just “a theory,” warning that reducing salt too much could have harmful effects, like iodine deficiency in children, a cause of mental retardation, and diabetes.

Still, already several companies have started the next challenge in the war against salt, which is looking for salt substitutes and other additives, such as potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride, to make food taste better.

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