Bloomberg’s War On Salt Goes Nationwide


salt-in-foodNYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recruited a platoon of food manufacturers and restaurant chains for his war on salt, getting them to agree to slash the sodium content on everything from ketchup to meat.

The move is apparently just the beginning of a national push to trim salt from our food supply.

Give Bloomberg a salt-laden hot dog and he’s happy as a clam. But that didn’t stop the city’s “First Saltaholic” from getting 16 companies to say they will cut 20 percent of the sodium in some of their products within five years.

“I love salt on my food. I put salt on my popcorn. As a matter of fact, popcorn without salt is not popcorn. I put it on my bagels,” he said. “And while this isn’t the healthiest habit in the world, it’s not as bad as it sounds and that’s because most of the real salt in our diets, some 80 percent in fact … actually comes from restaurants and packaged foods.”

Brands you know and love, including Heinz ketchup, sandwiches, Starbucks food snacks, and all kinds of Fresh Direct offerings are the first to sign onto a Bloomberg-led campaign to get some companies across America to gradually lower the salt in their product. The mayor said he’s leading the way for the nation.

“New York is in many senses the place that starts a lot of these things. It’s a leader,” he said.

It’s a war against high blood pressure and heart disease.

“The fact that so many of us take in too much sodium is the reason why one in four adults in New York City and nearly two-thirds of adults over the age of 60 has high blood pressure,” said New York City Health Commission Dr. Thomas Farley.

Heart attack and stroke is the nation’s leading cause of preventable death, causing 23,000 deaths in New York City each year and 800,000 nationwide.

Still, New Yorkers have mixed feelings about the war on salt.

“I add flavor to my food, so I wouldn’t want the mayor telling me what to eat. It’s like living in a police state,” said Carla Casseus of East Flatbush.

“French fries without salt tend to taste just as good, once you get used to it, as French fries loaded with salt,” said Smithtown resident Mark Elder.

“I find myself wishing that there were healthier options so I fully support that,” said Washington Heights resident April Humphrey.

The mayor has already led campaigns to ban smoking in public places and trans fats in foods. The city talks to 400 companies to get the first 16 to sign up. Officials said they hope to pick up more recruits soon.

{WCBS/Noam Newscenter}