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Saving Lives Through Salt Reduction

Posted by Rahat al imran Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reducing salt intake among Americans could save thousands of lives, as well as billions of healthcare dollars. Research conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California found that a reduction of just 10 percent could prevent as many as half a million heart attacks, while saving the nation about $32 million in healthcare costs. One way to achieve that salt reduction is through processed foods, and a number of companies have already taken steps to reduce sodium or have plans to do so.
Back in the fall of 2009, the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI) was born and has slowly gained acceptance by major food companies. The initiative has developed specific targets to guide company salt reductions across 62 categories of packaged food and 25 categories of restaurant food. The food companies committing to targets today will reduce sodium in 29 of the NSRI packaged food categories.
Six companies are joining forces with NSRI:
  • Butterball: popular brand-name manufacturer of turkey, poultry, and deli meats, as well as specialty products. The company commits to meeting the NSRI on the East Coast. The company will reduce sodium levels in the products it manufactures across 22 packaged-food categories, including frozen pizza, cereal and butter.
  • Furmano’s: supplier of foods to consumers and restaurants, will cut salt across its varieties of canned beans, baked beans and tomatoes.
  • Hostess: one of the largest wholesale bakeries in the country, commits to reducing salt across its entire line of bread products.
  • Premio: maker of 20 different sausage products, commits to decreasing salt in its uncooked sausages.
  • Snyder’s of Hanover: the nation’s largest pretzel maker, already meets the NSRI target for pretzels and now commits to cutting the salt in its unflavored chips.
These companies join Au Bon Pain, Boar’s Head, FreshDirect, Goya, Hain Celestial, Heinz, Kraft, LiDestri, Mars Food, McCain Foods, Red Gold, Starbucks, Subway, Unilever, Uno Chicago Grill and White Rose, all of which are already committed to NSRI targets.
This commitment follows on the heels of the many food industry giants heeding the call of Michelle Obama to make healthier products by adding beneficial ingredients to their products (fiber, fruits, vegetables, and vitamins) while reducing calories, fat, and unhealthy ingredients.
Reduction of salt intake can promote lower blood pressure levels, which is a key factor in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Cutting salt consumption by only a small amount can lead to positive outcomes on a much larger scale.


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